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Generating Realistic Arm Movements in Reinforcement Learning: A Quantitative Comparison of Reward Terms and Task Requirements

Jhon Charaja, Isabell Wochner, Pierre Schumacher, Winfried Ilg, Martin Giese, Christophe Maufroy, Andreas Bulling, Syn Schmitt, Daniel F.B. Haeufle

arXiv:2402.13949, pp. 1–6, 2024.


The mimicking of human-like arm movement characteristics involves the consideration of three factors during control policy synthesis: (a) chosen task requirements, (b) inclusion of noise during movement execution and (c) chosen optimality principles. Previous studies showed that when considering these factors (a-c) individually, it is possible to synthesize arm movements that either kinematically match the experimental data or reproduce the stereotypical triphasic muscle activation pattern. However, to date no quantitative comparison has been made on how realistic the arm movement generated by each factor is; as well as whether a partial or total combination of all factors results in arm movements with human-like kinematic characteristics and a triphasic muscle pattern. To investigate this, we used reinforcement learning to learn a control policy for a musculoskeletal arm model, aiming to discern which combination of factors (a-c) results in realistic arm movements according to four frequently reported stereotypical characteristics. Our findings indicate that incorporating velocity and acceleration requirements into the reaching task, employing reward terms that encourage minimization of mechanical work, hand jerk, and control effort, along with the inclusion of noise during movement, leads to the emergence of realistic human arm movements in reinforcement learning. We expect that the gained insights will help in the future to better predict desired arm movements and corrective forces in wearable assistive devices.



@techreport{charaja24_arxiv, title = {Generating Realistic Arm Movements in Reinforcement Learning: A Quantitative Comparison of Reward Terms and Task Requirements}, author = {Charaja, Jhon and Wochner, Isabell and Schumacher, Pierre and Ilg, Winfried and Giese, Martin and Maufroy, Christophe and Bulling, Andreas and Schmitt, Syn and Haeufle, Daniel F.B.}, year = {2024}, pages = {1--6}, url = {} }