Learning with Muscles: Benefits for Data-Efficiency and Robustness in Anthropomorphic Tasks
Proceedings of The 6th Conference on Robot Learning, PMLR 205:1178-1188, 2023.
Humans are able to outperform robots in terms of robustness, versatility, and learning of new tasks in a wide variety of movements. We hypothesize that highly nonlinear muscle dynamics play a large role in providing inherent stability, which is favorable to learning. While recent advances have been made in applying modern learning techniques to muscle-actuated systems both in simulation as well as in robotics, so far, no detailed analysis has been performed to show the benefits of muscles in this setting. Our study closes this gap by investigating core robotics challenges and comparing the performance of different actuator morphologies in terms of data-efficiency, hyperparameter sensitivity, and robustness.