Kawato Dynamic Brain Project, Japan
The Kawato Brain Project is a joint 5 year project being undertaken at the
ATR Labs in Kyoto, Japan, and at the University of Southern California in Los
Angeles. The project was started in October 1996 and is set to run until October
The aim of the project is to understand the computational problems of
learning and motor control in the human brain. Learning processes in the living
human brain are first studied. Models are then developed and simulated using
artificial neural networks. These models are then tested using a full sized
humanoid robot (see photo right).
The human brain is being studied through a combination of fMRI and
behavioural psychology. The various researchers are focusing on learning in the
cerebellar circuits, the basal ganglia, representation of motion sequences in
the frontal cortex, and dynamic perception in the visual cortex.
Using this knowledge the group has been able to teach the robot to juggle
three balls (using cups to catch and throw), and to perform a Japanese folk
dance. The robot also displays human-like eye movements. Emphasis is being
placed on teaching the robot via human demonstration. The above tasks were all
learnt from demonstration.
The robot stands at 1.85m tall and weighs 80Kg. It has the same kinematic
structure as the human and has 30 degrees of freedom (without fingers). The body
was developed by Sarcos of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
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