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True motor intelligence requires learning how to control and coordinate a flexible body to solve tasks in a range of complex environments. Existing attempts to control physically simulated humanoid bodies come from diverse fields, including computer animation and biomechanics. A trend has been to use hand-crafted objectives, sometimes with motion capture data, to produce specific behaviors. However, this may require considerable engineering effort, and can result in restricted behaviours or behaviours that may be difficult to repurpose for new tasks.

In three new papers, we seek ways to produce flexible and natural behaviours that can be reused and adapted to solve tasks.

Emergence of locomotion behaviours in rich environments

For some AI problems, such as playing Atari or Go, the goal is easy to define - it’s winning. But how do you describe the process for performing a backflip? Or even just a jump? The difficulty of accurately describing a complex behaviour is a common problem when teaching motor skills to an artificial system. In this work we explore how sophisticated behaviors can emerge from scratch from the body interacting with the environment using only simple high-level objectives, such as moving forward without falling. Specifically, we trained agents with a variety of simulated bodies to make progress across diverse terrains, which require jumping, turning and crouching. The results show our agents develop these complex skills without receiving specific instructions, an approach that can be applied to train our systems for multiple, distinct simulated bodies. The GIFs below show how this technique can lead to high quality movements and perseverance.They can be viewed in full.

Learning human behaviours from motion capture by adversarial imitation

The emergent behaviour described above can be very robust, but because the movements must emerge from scratch, they often do not look human-like. In our second paper, we demonstrate how to train a policy network that imitates motion capture data of human behaviours to pre-learn certain skills, such as walking, getting up from the ground, running, and turning. Having produced behaviour that looks human-like, we can tune and repurpose those behaviours to solve other tasks, like climbing stairs and navigating walled corridors.

Robust imitation of diverse behaviours

The third paper proposes a neural network architecture, building on state-of-the-art generative models, that is capable of learning the relationships between different behaviours and imitating specific actions that it is shown. After training, our system can encode a single observed action and create a new novel movement based on that demonstration. It can also switch between different kinds of behaviours despite never having seen transitions between them, for example switching between walking styles.

Achieving flexible and adaptive control of simulated bodies is a key element of AI research. Our work aims to develop flexible systems which learn and adapt skills to solve motor control tasks while reducing the manual engineering required to achieve this goal. Future work could extend these approaches to enable coordination of a greater range of behaviours in more complex situations.

Emergence of locomotion behaviours in rich environments

Learning human behaviours from motion capture by adversarial imitation

Robust imitation of diverse behaviours


Nicolas Heess Research Scientist, DeepMind

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Ludwig van Beethoven

ComposerBorn in 1770 - Died in 1827

Ludwig van Beethoven (LOOD vig von BAY toh vun) was one of the world's greatest composers. He wrote many symphonies, * overtures, * and pieces for piano and other instruments. He started studying the piano and violin when he was 4 years old. His father, a singer, was his first teacher. But he was not a good teacher. He beat his son and locked him in a basement to make him practice. Sometimes when his father came home late after becoming drunk, he would awaken Ludwig and make him practice until morning. When he was 10 years old, he started taking lessons from Christian Neefe. His new teacher was very patient with him and he began to do well. He wrote his first composition * (song) when he was 11. When he was 12, his teacher let him direct the orchestra part of the time. When he was 22, he moved to Vienna and studied with Joseph Haydn (HI dn). Haydn insisted his student write "pupil of Haydn" at the top of each song he wrote. Beethoven became tired of giving Haydn credit for his songs and quit studying with him. Most composers at this time were hired by people to write music, and they were told what kind of music to write. Beethoven, however, was treated as a friend, not an employee. He wrote the kind of music wanted to write. He knew he could play the piano very well and began to play at parties and to give concerts around Europe. When he needed an orchestra, he used a orchestra. He would even use some of the instruments in the orchestra to sound like birds in the forest. He liked taking long walks during the day. During these walks he planned his music. He would make notes in a notebook. Then in the evening after dinner, he would write music from about 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. He followed the same routine every day. If he was dining out and didn't have his notebook with him, he would write on the back of a menu. Once he even wrote on a window shade. He would work on a composition until it was just right. Sometimes it took years, but it would be perfect when he finished it. Beethoven began to lose his hearing when he was in his 20's. He became very suspicious * of people and hard to get along with. But he was still able to hear the songs in his mind and write them down. He did not get along with his two brothers. When his brother Karl died, Beethoven took his 9 year-old son to raise. It was an unhappy time for the child and his uncle. The boy rebelled against him and caused him a lot of grief. In 1826 he caught a cold. It developed into pneumonia * and he died. The world lost a great composer, but his music lives on today. You will enjoy listening to themes from some of his works. This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2001. Listen to music by Ludwig van Beethoven at Classical Connect
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Can anybody explain this to me or tell me how to fix it? Thanks as always.

Untitled.png 885x812 153 KB
Jun '12
Jun '12
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Jun '12

in pose mode, select all, Pose > Clear Transform > All

works for regular bones, dunno about constraints

DavidBrennan Member
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Where is “Clear Transforms” located? Thanks.

(But if that’s just CTRL+A and CTRL+G, then I already tried that, like I said.)

chipmasque Member
Jun '12

In the Armature context there are two buttons, Pose Position and Rest Position. Switch those on/off and I think you’ll see that in formal Rest Position (using the button), the armature will match Edit mode.

Clearing Transforms on the rig in Pose Mode may not automatically set it to the same configuration as the formal Rest Position, mainly because of the presence of constraints and/or drivers on the bones. In Pose Mode, these are always active (unless disabled, of course) regardless of the transforms on the bones, and can displace the bones slightly as you see. You can check this by inspecting your bones and disabling (the eye icon) any bone constraints. Somewhere in the process your diplacement should be remedied.

Of course, you need the constraints, so you have to figure what’s going on. I can’t say this is always the case, but I found that often the bones either acting as constraint targets, or those owning the constraint, may have become slightly displaced in Edit Mode. If so, that can affect the bones’ position in Pose Mode, and that in turn can affect any constrained bones. Even a shift in bone Roll can do this, which you can see with octo bones but not stick, not sure about B-bones.

In many cases the displacement is trivial – using the Rest Position button is more reliable than clearing transforms if you need to set the rig to default for some operation – and can be ignored. But if not, dig into the constraints and drivers, disabling them one at a time to see the result. In complex rigs this can be a pain in the rear, because you have to chase down all the levels of control relationships, but even then, it can be done.

DavidBrennan Member
Jun '12

…Clearing Transforms on the rig in Pose Mode may not automatically set it to the same configuration as the formal Rest Position, mainly because of the presence of constraints and/or drivers on the bones. In Pose Mode, these are always active (unless disabled, of course) regardless of the transforms on the bones, and can displace the bones slightly as you see. You can check this by inspecting your bones and disabling (the eye icon) any bone constraints. Somewhere in the process your diplacement should be remedied.

You are here: » Busting Myths about PrEP

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PrEP is an everyday pill that an HIV negative person can take to prevent getting HIV. Consistent use is essential for protection. Since PrEP is still a relatively new advancement in HIV prevention technology, there are still a lot of concerns and misconceptions around it. Fortunately, there has been a flurry of research in the drug and Prof Linda-Gail Bekker, COO of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, aims to dispel some common myths and concerns around it.

HIV positive people can now live full lives, which includes having HIV negative children. There have been concerns about HIV transmission from mother to infant, however, the research is indicating that taking PrEP during all stages of mother to infant contact is safe.

PrEP is advised during conception when there is a high-risk of the mother becoming HIV-positive. Transmission can occur during pregnancy because not everyone tests regularly while pregnant and seroconversion (the period when the HIV antibodies develop and become detectable) takes time. PrEP protects the mother from HIV, and therefore also protects an unborn baby. Additionally, it is difficult for the compound in PrEP (tenofovir) to move into the breast milk and is safe to take while breastfeeding.

The controversy here is how long a patient should take PrEP before they are protected. Some parties believe everyone should wait 21 days, whereas other think a week is sufficient. These data arise from animal studies, and there are models that support the one-week waiting period, but nothing conclusive has been shown in humans yet.

How long does someone need to take PrEP for until they are ready for sexual intercourse? Bekker advised that everyone should wait 21 days, especially if they are trying to get pregnant. This gives the drug the maximum time required to give the highest possible protection. However, a week may be the maximum time some populations will wait; adolescents, for example. in the case of populations who are less likely to wait (adolescents, for example).

PrEP is more than just a drug. It’s a sensual product that can bring intimacy back into the bedroom. Instead of a medical intervention, it should be marketed as a lifestyle intervention. It puts women who feel unable to negotiate condom-use back in charge of their sexual health, and it dulls the anxiety of contracting HIV in the bedroom.

The PrEP4Love campaign (below) is a social marketing campaign showing real couples catching desire in the bedroom, safe from the threat of transmitting HIV with the proper use of PrEP. It is campaigns like this that turn PrEP into a tool for intimacy.

The tough questions need to be asked: will PrEP-users stop using condoms, putting themselves at risk of other STIs and unwanted pregnancy? Some statistics attribute PrEP use to an increase in STI transmission. However, STIs and condomless sex have existed since before PrEP existed. These studies are starting to closely analyse a problem that has existed for a long time.

PrEP should be considered part of an HIV prevention package. With consistent use, it protects against HIV, but it can’t protect against other STIs and it is not a contraceptive.

Bekker summarised that at the moment, a month’s worth of PrEP is predicted to cost R260. This figure doesn’t include HIV tests or doctors fees. This estimate, whilst based on data, is not a ‘real world’ study and is derived from PrEP trials. It is predicted to change as PrEP is rolled out in South Africa.

It must be emphasised that PrEP is not a solution for life: it is a prevention method that one takes when at highest risk of infection.

This research meeting we were fortunate to have Karen Dominguez and Prof Linda-Gail Bekker speaking on their respective research projects. Dominguez spoke about the Sibanye study , which evaluated how men who have sex with men (MSM) respond to different HIV interventions. Bekker summarised the latest research around the HIV prevention drug, Pre Exposure Prophylaxis or, including busting common myths or misconceptions about the drug.

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