Departmental Papers (ESE)



A Gibsonian theory of affordances commits to direct perception and the mutuality of the agent-environment system. We argue that there already exists a research program in robotics which incorporates Gibsonian affordances. Controllers under this research program use information perceived directly from the environment with little or no further processing, and implicitly respect the indivisibility of the agentenvironment system. Research investigating the relationships between environmental and robot properties can be used to design reactive controllers that provably allow robots to take advantage of these affordances. We lay out key features of our empirical, generative Gibsonian approach and both show how it illuminates existing practice and suggest that it could be adopted to facilitate the systematic development of autonomous robots. We limit the scope of projects discussed here to legged robot systems but expect that applications can be found in other fields of robotics research.

This paper was presented at the 2nd International Workshop on Computational Models of Affordances at ICRA 2019.

For more information, see: Kod*lab

Sponsor Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by NSF NRI-2.0 grant 1734355 and in part by ONR grant N00014-16-1-2817, a Vannevar Bush Fellowship held by the second author, sponsored by the Basic Research Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

Document Type


Subject Area

GRASP, Kodlab

Date of this Version


Bib Tex

@unpublished{roberts2019systematizing, title={Systematizing {G}ibsonian affordances in robotics: an empirical, generative approach derived from case studies in legged locomotion}, author={Roberts, Sonia F. and Koditschek, Daniel E. and Miracchi, Lisa J.}, note={Poster presented at 2nd International Workshop on Computational Models of Affordances at ICRA, 2019, \url{}} }



Date Posted: 11 June 2019