Robotics and Biology Laboratory

Modelling and Understanding Cockatoo's Mechanical Problem Solving Behavior


Robots should be able to examine and understand previously unseen kinematic structures, such as the furniture and devices in a kitchen. What are good strategies for a robot to explore its environment? Could we learn something from biological behavior to improve this aspect of our robots? In a collaboration with colleagues from Vienna, we try to understand how Cockatoos can learn to solve multi-step kinematic puzzles by building models of the birds' behavior.

Description of Work

We will search the literature for potential (partial) models that could explain aspects of the bird's behavior. We will then implement these models and compare them to real bird data, giving support or discarding some of our hypothesis. This process will be repeated until we converge onto a plausible set of hypotheses that could explain the real data. Alongside literature research and model testing, the thesis will also develop a taxonomy of models that will help us understand the landscape of potential models in this domain.