- Keywords: reinforcement learning, biomechanical model, cumulative fatigue, animation, bioinspired models, physics-based simulation, locomotion
- Abstract: Modern deep reinforcement learning (DRL) methods allow simulated characters to learn complex skills such as locomotion from scratch. However, without further exploitation of domain-specific knowledge, such as motion capture data, finite state machines or morphological specifications, physics-based locomotion generation with DRL often results in unrealistic motions. One explanation for this is that present RL models do not estimate biomechanical effort; instead, they minimize instantaneous squared joint actuation torques as a proxy for the actual subjective cost of actions. To mitigate this discrepancy in a computationally efficient manner, we propose a method for mapping actuation torques to subjective effort without simulating muscles and their energy expenditure. Our approach is based on the Three Compartment Controller model, in which the relationships of variables such as maximum voluntary joint torques, recovery, and cumulative fatigue are present. We extend this method for sustained symmetric locomotion tasks for deep reinforcement learning using a Normalized Cumulative Fatigue (NCF) model. In summary, in this paper we present the first RL model to use biomechanical cumulative effort for full-body movement generation without the use of any finite state machines, morphological specification or motion capture data. Our results show that the learned policies are more symmetric, periodic and robust compared to methods found in previous literature.
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