February 10 – 15 , 2013, Dagstuhl Seminar 13072

Mechanisms of Ongoing Development in Cognitive Robotics


Jacqueline Fagard (Paris Descartes University, FR)
Roderic A. Grupen (University of Massachusetts – Amherst, US)
Frank Guerin (University of Aberdeen, GB)
Norbert Krüger (University of Southern Denmark – Odense, DK)

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In cognitive robotics "ongoing development" refers to the ability to continuously build on what the system already knows, in an ongoing process, which acquires new skills and knowledge, and achieves more sophisticated levels of behaviour. Human infants are possibly the best known demonstrators of this ability; developmental psychology has many results documenting what infants can and cannot do at various ages, however we know very little about the mechanisms underlying the development. On the robotics side, creating a computational system which displays ongoing development is still an unsolved problem. There are major unsolved questions regarding the mechanisms of ongoing development, in both biological and artificial systems; for example: how to transfer existing skills to a new context, how to build on existing skills, and how to represent knowledge (or skills).

The primary aim of the seminar was to bring together researchers from two communities (developmental robotics and infant developmental psychology) in order to spawn new collaborative research projects which will advance our scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying ongoing development (whether in infants or robots). We especially focused on perception, understanding and manipulation skills relating to physical objects in the world, and the skills which infants acquire in approximately the 4-24 months period.

Working groups were formed in the areas of (i) transfer of means/skills; (ii) motor skills/manipulation; (iii) concepts/representations; (iv) motivation; (v) visual perception. These discussed gaps between what infants and robots can do and what research might close the gap. In discussion groups the most significant issue that was raised (and discussed at length) was how to get psychologists and roboticists talking together and doing research together, as there seems to exist a wide gap between the communities. It was concluded that there was a need for psychologists to become computer scientists and computer scientists to become psychologists; i.e. that the meeting of the two fields would not happen simply by people getting together in a room, but that the meeting must happen inside individual heads. Furthermore challenge problems were posed by each of the two respective communities; challenges which they would like the other community to work on.

Summary text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
  Jacqueline Fagard, Roderic A. Grupen, Frank Guerin, and Norbert Krüger


  • Artificial Intelligence / Robotics
  • Computer Graphics / Computer Vision
  • Modelling / Simulation


  • Developmental Robotics
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Sensorimotor Development


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