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  1. Abstract Real-world grasp detection is challenging due to the stochasticity in grasp dynamics and the noise in hardware. Ideally, the system would adapt to the real world by training directly on physical systems. However, this is generally difficult due to the large amount of training data required by most grasp learning models. In this paper, we note that the planar grasp function is $\textrm{SE}(2)$ -equivariant and demonstrate that this structure can be used to constrain the neural network used during learning. This creates an inductive bias that can significantly improve the sample efficiency of grasp learning and enable end-to-end training from scratch on a physical robot with as few as 600 grasp attempts. We call this method Symmetric Grasp learning (SymGrasp) and show that it can learn to grasp “from scratch” in less that 1.5 h of physical robot time. This paper represents an expanded and revised version of the conference paper Zhu et al. (2022). 
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  2. Predicting the pose of objects from a single image is an important but difficult computer vision problem. Methods that predict a single point estimate do not predict the pose of objects with symmetries well and cannot represent uncertainty. Alternatively, some works predict a distribution over orientations in SO(3). However, training such models can be computation- and sample-inefficient. Instead, we propose a novel mapping of features from the image domain to the 3D rotation manifold. Our method then leverages SO(3) equivariant layers, which are more sample efficient, and outputs a distribution over rotations that can be sampled at arbitrary resolution. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method at object orientation prediction, and achieve state-of-the-art performance on the popular PASCAL3D+ dataset. Moreover, we show that our method can model complex object symmetries, without any modifications to the parameters or loss function. Code is available at 
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  3. Reasoning about 3D objects based on 2D images is challenging due to variations in appearance caused by viewing the object from different orientations. Tasks such as object classification are invariant to 3D rotations and other such as pose estimation are equivariant. However, imposing equivariance as a model constraint is typically not possible with 2D image input because we do not have an a priori model of how the image changes under out-of-plane object rotations. The only SO(3)-equivariant models that currently exist require point cloud or voxel input rather than 2D images. In this paper, we propose a novel architecture based on icosahedral group convolutions that reasons in SO(3) by learning a projection of the input image onto an icosahedron. The resulting model is approximately equivariant to rotation in SO(3). We apply this model to object pose estimation and shape classification tasks and find that it outperforms reasonable baselines. 
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