|Contributors:||Tom Busey: Author|
Mike Gasser: Author
Teresa Pegors: Author
What is the difference between a baby and an adult? Even disregarding physical characteristics, this may seem like a question with an obvious answer. You might say something about an adult typically having language skills, better memory, better coordination, or a host of other things. But why weren’t we just born with these abilities?
In this tutorial, we are going to explore the ideas surrounding the importance of learning, and do this by looking specifically at reinforcement learning. We will be using a Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System kit to construct and observe a seesaw that learns over time to keep a wheel in motion. LEGO Mindstorms make it easy to assemble programmable devices that can make use of motors, light and touch sensors, and easy-to-assemble building supplies. The instructions for building the seesaw-saw can be found online, as well as the necessary firmware for the RCX and specific program we will be using. (For the detailed hardware and software instructions, see Appendix).
This module was created by the Indiana University Cognitive Science Program and is also available on their website: IU Cognitive Science Software.