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Active perception refers to a theoretical approach to the study of perception grounded on the idea that perceiving is a way of acting, rather than a cognitive process whereby the brain constructs an internal representation of the world. The operational principles of active perception can be effectively tested by building robot-based models in which the relationship between perceptual categories and the body-environment interactions can be experimentally manipulated. In this paper, we study the mechanisms of tactile perception in a task in which a neuro-controlled anthropomorphic robotic arm, equipped with coarse-grained tactile sensors, is required to perceptually discriminate between spherical and ellipsoid objects. The results of this work demonstrate that evolved continuous time nonlinear neural controllers can bring forth strategies to allow the arm to effectively solve the discrimination task.
Date of Conference: 18-21 May 2009