Technical Reports (CIS)

Document Type

Technical Report

Subject Area


Date of this Version

March 1988


University of Pennsylvania Department of Computer and Information Science Technical Report No. MS-CIS-88-24.


Most past and present work in machine perception has involved extensive static analysis of passively sampled data. However, it should be axiomatic that perception is not passive, but active. Perceptual activity is exploratory, probing, searching; percepts do not simply fall onto sensors as rain falls onto ground. We do not just see, we look. And in the course, our pupils adjust to the level of illumination, our eyes bring the world into sharp focus, our eyes converge or diverge, we move our heads or change our position to get a better view of something, and sometimes we even put on spectacles. This adaptiveness is crucial for survival in an uncertain and generally unfriendly world, as millenia of experiments with different perceptual organizations have clearly demonstrated. Yet no adequate account or theory or example of active perception has been presented by machine perception research. This lack is the motivation for this paper.



Date Posted: 21 September 2007