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  1. Human visual understanding of action is reliant on anticipation of contact as is demonstrated by pioneering work in cognitive science. Taking inspiration from this, we introduce representations and models centered on contact, which we then use in action prediction and anticipation. We annotate a subset of the EPIC Kitchens dataset to include time-to-contact between hands and objects, as well as segmentations of hands and objects. Using these annotations we train the Anticipation Module, a module producing Contact Anticipation Maps and Next Active Object Segmentations - novel low-level representations providing temporal and spatial characteristics of anticipated near future action. On top of the Anticipation Module we apply Egocentric Object Manipulation Graphs (Ego-OMG), a framework for action anticipation and prediction. Ego-OMG models longer-term temporal semantic relations through the use of a graph modeling transitions between contact delineated action states. Use of the Anticipation Module within Ego-OMG produces state-of-the-art results, achieving 1st and 2nd place on the unseen and seen test sets, respectively, of the EPIC Kitchens Action Anticipation Challenge, and achieving state-of-the-art results on the tasks of action anticipation and action prediction over EPIC Kitchens. We perform ablation studies over characteristics of the Anticipation Module to evaluate their utility.
  2. In this paper we define two feature representations for grasping. These representations capture hand-object geometric relationships at the near-contact stage - before the fingers close around the object. Their benefits are: 1) They are stable under noise in both joint and pose variation. 2) They are largely hand and object agnostic, enabling direct comparison across different hand morphologies. 3) Their format makes them suitable for direct application of machine learning techniques developed for images. We validate the representations by: 1) Demonstrating that they can accurately predict the distribution of ε-metric values generated by kinematic noise. I.e., they capture much of the information inherent in contact points and force vectors without the corresponding instabilities. 2) Training a binary grasp success classifier on a real-world data set consisting of 588 grasps.