How might biological computation aid its engineering counterpart? Control of movement is one of the most striking of the information processing tasks that the brain seems to do better than its artificial rivals. The fast, precise and complex movements exemplified by animal and human athletes look very different from the clumsy, stereotyped movements that have come to be characterised as 'robotic'. What is the basis of this superiority? It has been suggested that information-processing tasks are easier to understand if characterised at the three levels of task specification, algorithm, and implementation. At the first level, the tasks for biological and artificial motor-control systems seem often to be identical. At the level of implementation, biological controllers must in fact cope with sensory and motor elements that are much noisier and far less reliable than their artificial counterparts. A natural place to start looking for the origin of the superior performance of biological motor control systems is therefore at the level of the algorithm. The structure in the mammalian brain most associated with the learning and execution of skilled movements is the cerebellum. After cerebellar damage learned motor skills are lost, and voluntary movements are greatly impoverished with large errors in the force and timing of muscle activity. The importance of the cerebellum may be gauged from its containing as many cells as the rest of the brain put together . Fortunately, these cells are arranged in a manner that assists functional analysis: the cerebellum is divided into thousands of modules, each with identical micro-circuitry but distinguished by unique connections with other parts of the brain. Understanding the information processing algorithm embodied in the cerebellar module is therefore a fundamentally important step towards unravelling the nature of biological computation in motor control. Since the micro-circuitry of the cerebellum is so uniform, the choice of experimental model in which to investigate the cerebellar algorithm in motor control can be made on grounds such as tractability and generic significance. Our choice is gaze stabilisation, as achieved by the vestibulo-ocular-reflex (VOR). In this reflex head velocity, sensed by the vestibular system, drives the eyes at equal velocity in the opposite direction, thereby stabilising the visual image on the retina. The very extensive experimental investigation of this reflex and its calibration make it make it especially suitable for a multidisciplinary evaluation of biological features that could contribute to superior motor control. The next sections describe the cerebellar algorithm under investigation, and its relation to electrophysiology and robotics.
Models of Cerebellar Function in Motor Control
Current models of the cerebellum are influenced by the seminal ideas of Marr  and Albus . The overall function of the cerebellar microcircuit (Fig. 1) is seen as taking simple motor commands (from e.g. the forebrain) and 'elaborating' them  into the detailed instructions needed for precise movement. This elaboration has to be learnt, on
has long made the VOR an attractive model for experimental and computational neuroscientists seeking to understand cerebellar function. To abolish image motion across the retina the vestibular signal must be processed by neural circuitry which compensates for the mechanical properties of the oculomotor plant. because there is no a priori guarantee that the proposed learning rule is stable and robust. linear plant model indicated that the algorithm could learn to compensate for a range of plausible motor plants (including first order and 2P1Z plants) and was robust to reasonable assumptions about the brainstem B and the nature of the granule cell representation decomposition [7. However.e. which is retinal slip in the case of the VOR. so that it receives a copy of the motor command as a predictor variable. The simplicity of this 'thereneuron arc'.
Oculomotor Plant Compensation in the VOR
In the VOR a signal from the vestibular system related to head velocity is used to drive the eyes in the opposite direction to the head movement (as outlined in Part 1). and as such requires calibration to ensure accurate nulling of head movement.
To learn accurate motor commands. which consists of neurons that convey vestibular information to motoneurons that control the contraction of the extra-ocular muscles. Simulations using a lumped. the algorithm was tested on a simulated motor-learning task. Its task it to decorrelate that command from the climbing fibre input (i. which is too delayed to drive a gaze-stabilising reflex in feedback mode.e. together with the relatively straightforward mechanics of the eye plant. the cerebellar module needs to decorrelate a copy of the command sent to the muscles from the sensory consequences of inaccurate movements (sensory error). the relevant region of the cerebellum (flocculus) receives as mossy fibre input (i. The role of the cerebellum in the VOR is well understood. and therefore be correlated with. The algorithm has also been applied to
. termed 'retinal slip' takes 50-100 msec to process. The VOR operates in feedforward mode. For this purpose. predictor variable) a copy of the motor command sent to the plant P. Image instability.The output signals from the cerebellum operate on brainstem VOR circuitry. it must be embedded in an architecture of the kind shown in Fig 2. A procedure that drives motor commands to be uncorrelated with sensory error with therefore result in accurate motor commands.the basis of errors in motor performance. The basis of the proposed learning mechanism is that inaccurate motor commands will cause. target variable) that shows the sensory consequences of inaccuracy. It is the cerebellum that adaptively calibrates the VOR. which acts to assist control circuitry already present in the brainstem B (vestibular interneurons) in Figure 2. In the configuration shown in Fig 2 for the horizontal VOR.8]. sensory error. The VOR is therefore a particular example of motor plant compensation (often called plant inversion). namely plant compensation in the VOR. By achieving this the cerebellum would learn an incremental forward model.
This task can be regarded as an instantiation of the 'elaboration' of simple motor commands. to our knowledge this is the only cerebellar-inspired algorithm that explains the need for multiple sites of synaptic plasticity. a function long assigned to the cerebellum  and of very wide significance. and the task we have referred to as 'oculomotor plant compensation' is an example of plant inversion or inverse control. The identification of control architectures for which plant inversion and model reference control are possible using adaptive learning rules based on output error alone is of considerable theoretical interest . corresponding to the re-synthesis stage of signal processing .
Cerebellar Algorithm in the Context of Adaptive Control Theory
The general properties of published cerebellar models are often difficult to discern. it is suitable for use in autonomous robots. combined with a biologically plausible learning rule. for a linear or non-linear motor plant which is assumed to be exactly invertible in this recurrent architecture (so the desired cerebellar filter is ) we have shown that sum-square synaptic weight error is a Lyapounov function with . The architecture of Fig 2 leads to highly modular control schemes with very simple connectivity which are ideally suited to control of distributed. In this case the recurrent architecture greatly simplifies the connectivity required for modular control of multi-degree-of-freedom systems in a manner consistent with the known physiology of cerebellar microzones. this provides the basis for a demonstration of stability under very general conditions. In contrast. Physiological and modelling investigations have so far overwhelmingly focussed on synaptic plasticity between parallel fibres and Purkinje cells (Fig 1a). in the recurrent loop architecture. It can be analysed theoretically to show that. The stability of the decorrelation learning rule in the architecture shown in Fig 2 was demonstrated in simulation in our successful VOR plant compensation experiments.
Distributed Plasticity in Decorrelation Control
Decorrelation control uses what is perhaps the simplest version of a generic Marr-Albus model for the cerebellar micro-circuit. More generally. since they incorporate complex biological detail of uncertain computational significance and are demonstrated to work only under very specific conditions. 2 constitutes a partial state feedback control scheme. many-degree-offreedom systems . analysis of the decorrelation control algorithm shows that there is a computational requirement for an additional site of plasticity in the brainstem controller (corresponding to the site where cerebellar output
. which can be regarded as a special case of adaptive model reference control. Since it requires only physically available signals.the VOR in three dimensions. the decorrelation control algorithm abstracts the operating principles of the proposed controller from underlying biological detail and its properties can be analytically described using adaptive control theory. In addition. However. it is capable of adaptive inversion of realistic biological plants. where the eye is controlled by six muscles . Its embedding in the recurrent architecture of Fig.
separate from the complex filter needed for lower frequency plant compensation. Thus computational analysis of the cerebellar algorithm in the VOR points to the specific requirement of a second site of plasticity in the brainstem. This seems somewhat low on a priori grounds. that appears effectively to partition learning into different frequency bands. The retinal slip signal that serves as target variable for the algorithm in VOR plant compensation (Fig 2) is delayed by ~50-100 msec.
To sense rotational acceleration due to disturbances of the robot platform we employ MEMS gyroscopes from Analog Devices (TM). it can be treated at high frequencies (in practice ~7 Hz) as a simple viscosity. where d is the delay in sec. The frequency limit for stable learning now depends on the precise shape of the eligibility trace.25]. in effect partitioning learning into different frequency bands. namely the introduction of an 'eligibility trace' that delays and smoothes the parallel fibre signal before it interacts with the climbing fibre signal .5-5 Hz).
.and vestibular input converge on neurons in the brainstem. The substrate for biological adaptive motor control thus differs significantly from current methodologies in robots. We investigated a standard procedure for overcoming this problem. but is probably no greater than 5-10 Hz. with the high frequencies particularly needed to stabilise gaze during locomotion. We arranged three gyroscopes in a mutually orthogonal setup in order to sense rotations around the yaw. Since the oculomotor plant P is primarily viscoelastic. which requires only that the VOR have the correct gain. Distributed plasticity at multiple sites is thus a distinctive feature of the cerebellar algorithm.
Fig. Fig 2). This delay can cause unstable learning for input frequencies > 1/4d Hz (here 2. pitch and roll axis. It is of interest that. although there has long been electrophysiological evidence for such a site [24. and empirically it is known that VOR gain remains high up to at least 25 Hz. the ADXRS300. Electronically actuated robot on the 3D platform. velocity is then extracted from the measured acceleration. simple mechanism in the brainstem could deal with this basic gain. It appears that the cerebellar algorithm downloads memory from cortex to brainstem. Thus a fast. its possible functional basis has hitherto remained unclear. Electronically actuated robot.
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The company has spent many years interfacing their robots with vision based tools to allow for identification and assembly of parts. In this scenario objects/parts that are required for product assembly are contained in a large bin.Technical Sections
i) Introduction ii) Models of Cerebellar Function in Motor Control iii) Decorrelation Control iv) Oculomotor Plant Compensation in the VOR v) Cerebellar Algorithm in Context of Adaptive Control Theory vi) Distributed Plasticity in Decorrelation Control vii) Robotic Implementation viii) Summary ix) References
If you're in an industrial setting using Machine Vision you will probably find an Adept robot at work. One of the most basic problems with industrial assembly is a process know as parts feeding. The assembly process requires a single part to be isolated from the bin of
Adept has pioneered the use of vision in solving this part picking problem. or your next door neighbor!).
One of the most fundamental tasks that vision is very useful for is the recognition of objects (be they machine parts. light bulbs. Evolution Robotics introduced a significant milestone in the near-realtime recognition of objects based on SIFT points.parts. DVDs.
As the hobbyi st robotic s market rapidly grows so too are the
. Matching these points to previously seen image points allows the software to 'understand' what it is looking at even if it does not see exactly the same image. rotated or scaled by some small degree. The software identifies points in an image that look the same even if the object is moved.
machin e vision choices that the hobbyi st has at their disposa l. The CMUC am (initiall y created at Carneg ie Mellon ) is by far the most popula r vision camera that can track an object based on its color and even move the camera if it is mounte d on servos (small motors ) to track
The race attracted the best in what mobile robotics had to offer and included many fields of robotics including vision. Due to the ground speed requirements of the vehicles (about an average of 30mph) many of the racing vehicles used vision as
. At a low price and basic usage it has becom e very widely used by hobby and acade mic robotic its.the object.
Also knows as the "great desert race". the Darpa Grand Challenge was a raced proposed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency which required racing of unmanned robotic automobiles from California to Nevada.
a forward looking sensor to help estimate the direction the car should be going long before it got there. The winner. Using RoboRealm you can add vision capabilities to your robot by using inexpensive USB cameras and the PC that you already have.
RoboRealm attempts to reduce the complexity of using machine vision in robotics by providing a comprehensive user interface to experiment with different vision filters. With interfaces to extend the application using your own custom filters and modules to connect to most of the popular servo controllers RoboRealm is quickly becoming the vision software to use with your robot. used such a technique combined with shorter distance LIDAR systems. Stanley from Stanford.