Content-based control of goal-directed attention during human action perception
During the perception of human actions by robotic assistants, the robotic assistant needs to direct its computational and sensor resources to relevant parts of the human action. In previous work we have introduced HAMMER (Hierarchical Attentive Multiple Models for Execution and Recognition) (Demiris and Khadhouri, 2006), a computational architecture that forms multiple hypotheses with respect to what the demonstrated task is, and multiple predictions with respect to the forthcoming states of the human action. To confirm their predictions, the hypotheses request information from an attentional mechanism, which allocates the robot's resources as a function of the saliency of the hypotheses. In this paper we augment the attention mechanism with a component that considers the content of the hypotheses' requests, with respect to the content's reliability, utility and cost. This content-based attention component further optimises the utilisation of the resources while remaining robust to noise. Such computational mechanisms are important for the development of robotic devices that will rapidly respond to human actions, either for imitation or collaboration purposes.