skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on May 25, 2023

Title: Online Object Model Reconstruction and Reuse for Lifelong Improvement of Robot Manipulation
This work proposes a robotic pipeline for picking and constrained placement of objects without geometric shape priors. Compared to recent efforts developed for similar tasks, where every object was assumed to be novel, the proposed system recognizes previously manipulated objects and performs online model reconstruction and reuse. Over a lifelong manipulation process, the system keeps learning features of objects it has interacted with and updates their reconstructed models. Whenever an instance of a previously manipulated object reappears, the system aims to first recognize it and then register its previously reconstructed model given the current observation. This step greatly reduces object shape uncertainty allowing the system to even reason for parts of objects, which are currently not observable. This also results in better manipulation efficiency as it reduces the need for active perception of the target object during manipulation. To get a reusable reconstructed model, the proposed pipeline adopts: i) TSDF for object representation, and ii) a variant of the standard particle filter algorithm for pose estimation and tracking of the partial object model. Furthermore, an effective way to construct and maintain a dataset of manipulated objects is presented. A sequence of real-world manipulation experiments is performed. They show how future more » manipulation tasks become more effective and efficient by reusing reconstructed models of previously manipulated objects, which were generated during their prior manipulation, instead of treating objects as novel every time. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1734492
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10354866
Journal Name:
IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We present a probabilistic approach for building, on the fly, three dimensional (3D) models of unknown objects while being manipulated by a robot. We specifically consider manipulation tasks in piles of clutter that contain previously unseen objects. Most manipulation algorithms for performing such tasks require known geometric models of the objects in order to grasp or rearrange them robustly. One of the novel aspects of this work is the utilization of a physics engine for verifying hypothesized geometries in simulation. The evidence provided by physics simulations is used in a probabilistic framework that accounts for the fact that mechanical properties of the objects are uncertain. We present an efficient algorithm for inferring occluded parts of objects based on their observed motions and mutual interactions. Experiments using a robot show that this approach is efficient for constructing physically realistic 3D models, which can be useful for manipulation planning. Experiments also show that the proposed approach significantly outperforms alternative approaches in terms of shape accuracy.
  2. We present a framework for deformable object manipulation that interleaves planning and control, enabling complex manipulation tasks without relying on high-fidelity modeling or simulation. The key question we address is when should we use planning and when should we use control to achieve the task? Planners are designed to find paths through complex configuration spaces, but for highly underactuated systems, such as deformable objects, achieving a specific configuration is very difficult even with high-fidelity models. Conversely, controllers can be designed to achieve specific configurations, but they can be trapped in undesirable local minima owing to obstacles. Our approach consists of three components: (1) a global motion planner to generate gross motion of the deformable object; (2) a local controller for refinement of the configuration of the deformable object; and (3) a novel deadlock prediction algorithm to determine when to use planning versus control. By separating planning from control we are able to use different representations of the deformable object, reducing overall complexity and enabling efficient computation of motion. We provide a detailed proof of probabilistic completeness for our planner, which is valid despite the fact that our system is underactuated and we do not have a steering function. We thenmore »demonstrate that our framework is able to successfully perform several manipulation tasks with rope and cloth in simulation, which cannot be performed using either our controller or planner alone. These experiments suggest that our planner can generate paths efficiently, taking under a second on average to find a feasible path in three out of four scenarios. We also show that our framework is effective on a 16-degree-of-freedom physical robot, where reachability and dual-arm constraints make the planning more difficult.« less
  3. We consider the problem of in-hand dexterous manipulation with a focus on unknown or uncertain hand–object parameters, such as hand configuration, object pose within hand, and contact positions. In particular, in this work we formulate a generic framework for hand–object configuration estimation using underactuated hands as an example. Owing to the passive reconfigurability and the lack of encoders in the hand’s joints, it is challenging to estimate, plan, and actively control underactuated manipulation. By modeling the grasp constraints, we present a particle filter-based framework to estimate the hand configuration. Specifically, given an arbitrary grasp, we start by sampling a set of hand configuration hypotheses and then randomly manipulate the object within the hand. While observing the object’s movements as evidence using an external camera, which is not necessarily calibrated with the hand frame, our estimator calculates the likelihood of each hypothesis to iteratively estimate the hand configuration. Once converged, the estimator is used to track the hand configuration in real time for future manipulations. Thereafter, we develop an algorithm to precisely plan and control the underactuated manipulation to move the grasped object to desired poses. In contrast to most other dexterous manipulation approaches, our framework does not require any tactilemore »sensing or joint encoders, and can directly operate on any novel objects, without requiring a model of the object a priori. We implemented our framework on both the Yale Model O hand and the Yale T42 hand. The results show that the estimation is accurate for different objects, and that the framework can be easily adapted across different underactuated hand models. In the end, we evaluated our planning and control algorithm with handwriting tasks, and demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed framework.« less
  4. This paper focuses on vision-based pose estimation for multiple rigid objects placed in clutter, especially in cases involving occlusions and objects resting on each other. Progress has been achieved recently in object recognition given advancements in deep learning. Nevertheless, such tools typically require a large amount of training data and significant manual effort to label objects. This limits their applicability in robotics, where solutions must scale to a large number of objects and variety of conditions. Moreover, the combinatorial nature of the scenes that could arise from the placement of multiple objects is hard to capture in the training dataset. Thus, the learned models might not produce the desired level of precision required for tasks, such as robotic manipulation. This work proposes an autonomous process for pose estimation that spans from data generation to scene-level reasoning and self-learning. In particular, the proposed framework first generates a labeled dataset for training a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) for object detection in clutter. These detections are used to guide a scene-level optimization process, which considers the interactions between the different objects present in the clutter to output pose estimates of high precision. Furthermore, confident estimates are used to label online real images frommore »multiple views and re-train the process in a self-learning pipeline. Experimental results indicate that this process is quickly able to identify in cluttered scenes physically-consistent object poses that are more precise than the ones found by reasoning over individual instances of objects. Furthermore, the quality of pose estimates increases over time given the self-learning process.« less
  5. Manipulation tasks can often be decomposed into multiple subtasks performed in parallel, e.g., sliding an object to a goal pose while maintaining con- tact with a table. Individual subtasks can be achieved by task-axis controllers defined relative to the objects being manipulated, and a set of object-centric controllers can be combined in an hierarchy. In prior works, such combinations are defined manually or learned from demonstrations. By contrast, we propose using reinforcement learning to dynamically compose hierarchical object-centric controllers for manipulation tasks. Experiments in both simulation and real world show how the proposed approach leads to improved sample efficiency, zero-shot generalization to novel test environments, and simulation-to-reality transfer with- out fine-tuning.