Motor-Primed Visual Attention for Humanoid Robots
We present a novel, biologically inspired, approach to an efficient allocation of visual resources for humanoid robots in a form of a motor-primed visual attentional landscape. The attentional landscape is a more general, dynamic and a more complex concept of an arrangement of spatial attention than the popular "attentional spotlight" or "zoom-lens" models of attention. Motor-priming of attention is a mechanism for prioritizing visual processing to motor-relevant parts of the visual field, in contrast to other, motor-irrelevant, parts. In particular, we present two techniques for constructing a visual "attentional landscape". The first, more general, technique, is to devote visual attention to the reachable space of a robot (peripersonal space-primed attention). The second, more specialized, technique is to allocate visual attention with respect to motor plans of the robot (motor plans-primed attention). Hence, in our model, visual attention is not exclusively defined in terms of visual saliency in color, texture or intensity cues, it is rather modulated by motor information. This computational model is inspired by recent findings in visual neuroscience and psychology. In addition to two approaches to constructing the attentional landscape, we present two methods for using the attentional landscape for driving visual processing. We show that motor-priming of visual attention can be used to very efficiently distribute limited computational resources devoted to the visual processing. The proposed model is validated in a series of experiments conducted with the iCub robot, both using the simulator and the real robot.