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Motor Learning

The main goal of this research line is understand how we acquire novel motor skills, and how this process can be facilitated by robots and other interactive technologies. It has been suggested that robots might be used to promote the acquisition of novel motor skills by guiding a trainee to experiment the correct movements and/or by preventing him/her from performing incorrect ones (the ‘guidance’ hypothesis). Recent work addressed whether and on what circumstances physical interaction with a robot may facilitate the acquisition of a novel motor skill. In particular this issue has been explored into two different contexts: (i) a simulated putting task consisting of gently hitting an object (e.g. a ‘ball’) by means of a tool (the ‘pad’, e.g. the golf putter) to move it to a desired final position and (ii) intermanual transfer of handwriting, i.e. learning how to write with the non-dominant hand (A.Basteris and V.Sanguineti). These activities are funded by the European Union (FP7-ICT-231724 HUMOUR and by the Italian Ministry of University, Education and Research.