A Developmental Evolutionary Learning Framework for Robotic Chinese Stroke Writing

Ruiqi Wu, Fei Chao*, Changle Zhou, Yuxuan Huang, Longzhi Yang, Chih Min Lin, Xiang Chang, Qiang Shen, Changjing Shang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


The ability of robots to write Chinese strokes, which is recognized as a sophisticated task, involves complicated kinematic control algorithms. The conventional approaches for robotic writing of Chinese strokes often suffer from limited font generation methods, which limits the ability of robots to perform high-quality writing. This paper instead proposes a developmental evolutionary learning framework that enables a robot to learn to write fundamental Chinese strokes. The framework first considers the learning process of robotic writing as an evolutionary easy-to-difficult procedure. Then, a developmental learning mechanism called “Lift-constraint, act and saturate” that stems from developmental robotics is used to determine how the robot learns tasks ranging from simple to difficult by building on the learning results from the easy tasks. The developmental constraints, which include altitude adjustments, number of mutation points, and stroke trajectory points, determine the learning complexity of robot writing. The developmental algorithm divides the evolutionary procedure into three developmental learning stages. In each stage, the stroke trajectory points gradually increase, while the number of mutation points and adjustment altitudes gradually decrease, allowing the learning difficulties involved in these three stages to be categorized as easy, medium, and difficult. Our robot starts with an easy learning task and then gradually progresses to the medium and difficult tasks. Under various developmental constraint setups in each stage, the robot applies an evolutionary algorithm to handle the basic shapes of the Chinese strokes and eventually acquires the ability to write with good quality. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed framework allows a calligraphic robot to gradually learn to write five fundamental Chinese strokes and also reveal a developmental pattern similar to that of humans. Compared to an evolutionary algorithm without the developmental mechanism, the proposed framework achieves good writing quality more rapidly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1169
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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