“Motor-babbling” baby steps

Thinking of a new venture for the New Year? What can we learn from babies?

Babies in the womb – and some very clever robots – learn about their bodies by making tiny random movements and then observing the consequences. This is called “motor babbling”, apparently meaningless twitches that actually grow our motor skills and self-awareness. This process of trial and error is also called “goal babbling” – isn’t science brilliant?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129604.500-robot-elephant-trunk-learns-motor-skills-like-a-baby.html#.VRaSHzorWyM

https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/cs/research/ir/robots/icub/dev-icub/

So what could we learn from this? I doubt many of us would admit to babbling our way through our day jobs. But what about baby steps, tiny bits of trial and error with a sharp eye on the consequences?

Every time I hear a new idea I start asking “how could you pilot this? What is the low cost, low risk, pop-up version? How can we try, (maybe) fail, learn and repeat?


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