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2016


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Robot Arm Pose Estimation by Pixel-wise Regression of Joint Angles

Widmaier, F., Kappler, D., Schaal, S., Bohg, J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
To achieve accurate vision-based control with a robotic arm, a good hand-eye coordination is required. However, knowing the current configuration of the arm can be very difficult due to noisy readings from joint encoders or an inaccurate hand-eye calibration. We propose an approach for robot arm pose estimation that uses depth images of the arm as input to directly estimate angular joint positions. This is a frame-by-frame method which does not rely on good initialisation of the solution from the previous frames or knowledge from the joint encoders. For estimation, we employ a random regression forest which is trained on synthetically generated data. We compare different training objectives of the forest and also analyse the influence of prior segmentation of the arms on accuracy. We show that this approach improves previous work both in terms of computational complexity and accuracy. Despite being trained on synthetic data only, we demonstrate that the estimation also works on real depth images.

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pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

2016


pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Optimizing for what matters: the Top Grasp Hypothesis

Kappler, D., Schaal, S., Bohg, J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we consider the problem of robotic grasping of objects when only partial and noisy sensor data of the environment is available. We are specifically interested in the problem of reliably selecting the best hypothesis from a whole set. This is commonly the case when trying to grasp an object for which we can only observe a partial point cloud from one viewpoint through noisy sensors. There will be many possible ways to successfully grasp this object, and even more which will fail. We propose a supervised learning method that is trained with a ranking loss. This explicitly encourages that the top-ranked training grasp in a hypothesis set is also positively labeled. We show how we adapt the standard ranking loss to work with data that has binary labels and explain the benefits of this formulation. Additionally, we show how we can efficiently optimize this loss with stochastic gradient descent. In quantitative experiments, we show that we can outperform previous models by a large margin.

am

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Exemplar-based Prediction of Object Properties from Local Shape Similarity

Bohg, J., Kappler, D., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We propose a novel method that enables a robot to identify a graspable object part of an unknown object given only noisy and partial information that is obtained from an RGB-D camera. Our method combines the benefits of local with the advantages of global methods. It learns a classifier that takes a local shape representation as input and outputs the probability that a grasp applied at this location will be successful. Given a query data point that is classified in this way, we can retrieve all the locally similar training data points and use them to predict latent global object shape. This information may help to further prune positively labeled grasp hypotheses based on, e.g. relation to the predicted average global shape or suitability for a specific task. This prediction can also guide scene exploration to prune object shape hypotheses. To learn the function that maps local shape to grasp stability we use a Random Forest Classifier. We show that our method reaches the same classification performance as the current state-of-the-art on this dataset which uses a Convolutional Neural Network. Additionally, we exploit the natural ability of the Random Forest to cluster similar data. For a positively predicted query data point, we retrieve all the locally similar training data points that are associated with the same leaf nodes of the Random Forest. The main insight from this work is that local object shape that affords a grasp is also a good predictor of global object shape. We empirically support this claim with quantitative experiments. Additionally, we demonstrate the predictive capability of the method on some real data examples.

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pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Automatic LQR Tuning Based on Gaussian Process Global Optimization

Marco, A., Hennig, P., Bohg, J., Schaal, S., Trimpe, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 270-277, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper proposes an automatic controller tuning framework based on linear optimal control combined with Bayesian optimization. With this framework, an initial set of controller gains is automatically improved according to a pre-defined performance objective evaluated from experimental data. The underlying Bayesian optimization algorithm is Entropy Search, which represents the latent objective as a Gaussian process and constructs an explicit belief over the location of the objective minimum. This is used to maximize the information gain from each experimental evaluation. Thus, this framework shall yield improved controllers with fewer evaluations compared to alternative approaches. A seven-degree- of-freedom robot arm balancing an inverted pole is used as the experimental demonstrator. Results of a two- and four- dimensional tuning problems highlight the method’s potential for automatic controller tuning on robotic platforms.

am ics pn

Video PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]

Video PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Depth-based Object Tracking Using a Robust Gaussian Filter

Issac, J., Wüthrich, M., Garcia Cifuentes, C., Bohg, J., Trimpe, S., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We consider the problem of model-based 3D- tracking of objects given dense depth images as input. Two difficulties preclude the application of a standard Gaussian filter to this problem. First of all, depth sensors are characterized by fat-tailed measurement noise. To address this issue, we show how a recently published robustification method for Gaussian filters can be applied to the problem at hand. Thereby, we avoid using heuristic outlier detection methods that simply reject measurements if they do not match the model. Secondly, the computational cost of the standard Gaussian filter is prohibitive due to the high-dimensional measurement, i.e. the depth image. To address this problem, we propose an approximation to reduce the computational complexity of the filter. In quantitative experiments on real data we show how our method clearly outperforms the standard Gaussian filter. Furthermore, we compare its performance to a particle-filter-based tracking method, and observe comparable computational efficiency and improved accuracy and smoothness of the estimates.

am ics

Video Bayesian Object Tracking Library Bayesian Filtering Framework Object Tracking Dataset link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

Video Bayesian Object Tracking Library Bayesian Filtering Framework Object Tracking Dataset link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Sperm-shaped magnetic microrobots: Fabrication using electrospinning, modeling, and characterization

Khalil, I. S., Tabak, A. F., Hosney, A., Mohamed, A., Klingner, A., Ghoneima, M., Sitti, M.

In Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2016 IEEE International Conference on, pages: 1939-1944, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We use electrospinning to fabricate sperm-shaped magnetic microrobots with a range of diameters from 50 μm to 500 μm. The variables of the electrospinning operation (voltage, concentration of the solution, dynamic viscosity, and distance between the syringe needle and collector) to achieve beading effect are determined. This beading effect allows us to fabricate microrobots with similar morphology to that of sperm cells. The bead and the ultra-fine fiber resemble the morphology of the head and tail of the sperm cell, respectively. We incorporate iron oxide nanoparticles to the head of the sperm-shaped microrobot to provide a magnetic dipole moment. This dipole enables directional control under the influence of external magnetic fields. We also apply weak (less than 2 mT) oscillating magnetic fields to exert a magnetic torque on the magnetic head, and generate planar flagellar waves and flagellated swim. The average speed of the sperm-shaped microrobot is calculated to be 0.5 body lengths per second and 1 body lengths per second at frequencies of 5 Hz and 10 Hz, respectively. We also develop a model of the microrobot using elastohydrodynamics approach and Timoshenko-Rayleigh beam theory, and find good agreement with the experimental results.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Batch Bayesian Optimization via Local Penalization

González, J., Dai, Z., Hennig, P., Lawrence, N.

Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS), 51, pages: 648-657, JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings, (Editors: Gretton, A. and Robert, C. C.), May 2016 (conference)

ei pn

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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MuProp: Unbiased Backpropagation for Stochastic Neural Networks

Gu, S., Levine, S., Sutskever, I., Mnih, A.

4th International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), May 2016 (conference)

ei

Arxiv [BibTex]

Arxiv [BibTex]


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Communication Rate Analysis for Event-based State Estimation

(Best student paper finalist)

Ebner, S., Trimpe, S.

In Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Discrete Event Systems, May 2016 (inproceedings)

am ics

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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An Improved Cognitive Brain-Computer Interface for Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Hohmann, M. R., Fomina, T., Jayaram, V., Förster, C., Just, J., M., S., Schölkopf, B., Schöls, L., Grosse-Wentrup, M.

Proceedings of the Sixth International BCI Meeting, pages: 44, (Editors: Müller-Putz, G. R. and Huggins, J. E. and Steyrl, D.), BCI, May 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Auxetic Metamaterial Simplifies Soft Robot Design

Mark, A. G., Palagi, S., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

In 2016 IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 4951-4956, May 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Soft materials are being adopted in robotics in order to facilitate biomedical applications and in order to achieve simpler and more capable robots. One route to simplification is to design the robot's body using `smart materials' that carry the burden of control and actuation. Metamaterials enable just such rational design of the material properties. Here we present a soft robot that exploits mechanical metamaterials for the intrinsic synchronization of two passive clutches which contact its travel surface. Doing so allows it to move through an enclosed passage with an inchworm motion propelled by a single actuator. Our soft robot consists of two 3D-printed metamaterials that implement auxetic and normal elastic properties. The design, fabrication and characterization of the metamaterials are described. In addition, a working soft robot is presented. Since the synchronization mechanism is a feature of the robot's material body, we believe that the proposed design will enable compliant and robust implementations that scale well with miniaturization.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Movement Primitives with Multiple Phase Parameters

Ewerton, M., Maeda, G., Neumann, G., Kisner, V., Kollegger, G., Wiemeyer, J., Peters, J.

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 201-206, IEEE, May 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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TerseSVM : A Scalable Approach for Learning Compact Models in Large-scale Classification

Babbar, R., Muandet, K., Schölkopf, B.

Proceedings of the 2016 SIAM International Conference on Data Mining (SDM), pages: 234-242, (Editors: Sanjay Chawla Venkatasubramanian and Wagner Meira), May 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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A Lightweight Robotic Arm with Pneumatic Muscles for Robot Learning

Büchler, D., Ott, H., Peters, J.

Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 4086-4092, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (conference)

am ei

ICRA16final DOI Project Page [BibTex]

ICRA16final DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Probabilistic Approximate Least-Squares

Bartels, S., Hennig, P.

Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS), 51, pages: 676-684, JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings, (Editors: Gretton, A. and Robert, C. C. ), May 2016 (conference)

Abstract
Least-squares and kernel-ridge / Gaussian process regression are among the foundational algorithms of statistics and machine learning. Famously, the worst-case cost of exact nonparametric regression grows cubically with the data-set size; but a growing number of approximations have been developed that estimate good solutions at lower cost. These algorithms typically return point estimators, without measures of uncertainty. Leveraging recent results casting elementary linear algebra operations as probabilistic inference, we propose a new approximate method for nonparametric least-squares that affords a probabilistic uncertainty estimate over the error between the approximate and exact least-squares solution (this is not the same as the posterior variance of the associated Gaussian process regressor). This allows estimating the error of the least-squares solution on a subset of the data relative to the full-data solution. The uncertainty can be used to control the computational effort invested in the approximation. Our algorithm has linear cost in the data-set size, and a simple formal form, so that it can be implemented with a few lines of code in programming languages with linear algebra functionality.

ei pn

link (url) Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Drifting Gaussian Processes with Varying Neighborhood Sizes for Online Model Learning

Meier, F., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2016 (inproceedings)

am

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Learning soft task priorities for control of redundant robots

Modugno, V., Neumann, G., Rueckert, E., Oriolo, G., Peters, J., Ivaldi, S.

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 221-226, IEEE, May 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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On the Reliability of Information and Trustworthiness of Web Sources in Wikipedia

Tabibian, B., Farajtabar, M., Valera, I., Song, L., Schölkopf, B., Gomez Rodriguez, M.

Wikipedia workshop at the 10th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM), May 2016 (conference)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Peer Grading in a Course on Algorithms and Data Structures: Machine Learning Algorithms do not Improve over Simple Baselines

Sajjadi, M. S. M., Alamgir, M., von Luxburg, U.

Proceedings of the 3rd ACM conference on Learning @ Scale, pages: 369-378, (Editors: Haywood, J. and Aleven, V. and Kay, J. and Roll, I.), ACM, L@S, April 2016, (An earlier version of this paper had been presented at the ICML 2015 workshop for Machine Learning for Education.) (conference)

ei

Arxiv Peer-Grading dataset request [BibTex]

Arxiv Peer-Grading dataset request [BibTex]


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Towards Photo-Induced Swimming: Actuation of Liquid Crystalline Elastomer in Water

cerretti, G., Martella, D., Zeng, H., Parmeggiani, C., Palagi, S., Mark, A. G., Melde, K., Qiu, T., Fischer, P., Wiersma, D.

In Proc. of SPIE 9738, pages: Laser 3D Manufacturing III, 97380T, April 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Liquid Crystalline Elastomers (LCEs) are very promising smart materials that can be made sensitive to different external stimuli, such as heat, pH, humidity and light, by changing their chemical composition. In this paper we report the implementation of a nematically aligned LCE actuator able to undergo large light-induced deformations. We prove that this property is still present even when the actuator is submerged in fresh water. Thanks to the presence of azo-dye moieties, capable of going through a reversible trans-cis photo-isomerization, and by applying light with two different wavelengths we managed to control the bending of such actuator in the liquid environment. The reported results represent the first step towards swimming microdevices powered by light.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Appealing female avatars from 3D body scans: Perceptual effects of stylization

Fleming, R., Mohler, B., Romero, J., Black, M. J., Breidt, M.

In 11th Int. Conf. on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications (GRAPP), Febuary 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Advances in 3D scanning technology allow us to create realistic virtual avatars from full body 3D scan data. However, negative reactions to some realistic computer generated humans suggest that this approach might not always provide the most appealing results. Using styles derived from existing popular character designs, we present a novel automatic stylization technique for body shape and colour information based on a statistical 3D model of human bodies. We investigate whether such stylized body shapes result in increased perceived appeal with two different experiments: One focuses on body shape alone, the other investigates the additional role of surface colour and lighting. Our results consistently show that the most appealing avatar is a partially stylized one. Importantly, avatars with high stylization or no stylization at all were rated to have the least appeal. The inclusion of colour information and improvements to render quality had no significant effect on the overall perceived appeal of the avatars, and we observe that the body shape primarily drives the change in appeal ratings. For body scans with colour information, we found that a partially stylized avatar was most effective, increasing average appeal ratings by approximately 34%.

ps

pdf Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Project Page [BibTex]


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Fabular: Regression Formulas As Probabilistic Programming

Borgström, J., Gordon, A. D., Ouyang, L., Russo, C., Ścibior, A., Szymczak, M.

Proceedings of the 43rd Annual ACM SIGPLAN-SIGACT Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages (POPL), pages: 271-283, POPL ’16, ACM, January 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Deep Discrete Flow

Güney, F., Geiger, A.

Asian Conference on Computer Vision (ACCV), 2016 (conference) Accepted

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pdf suppmat Project Page [BibTex]

pdf suppmat Project Page [BibTex]


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Proactive Human-Robot Collaboration with Interaction Primitives

Maeda, G., Maloo, A., Ewerton, M., Lioutikov, R., Peters, J.

9th International Workshop on Human-Friendly Robotics (HFR), pages: 40-45, 2016 (conference)

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Ensuring Ethical Behavior from Autonomous Systems

Anderson, M., Anderson, S. L., Berenz, V.

In Artificial Intelligence Applied to Assistive Technologies and Smart Environments, Papers from the 2016 AAAI Workshop, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, February 12, 2016, 2016 (inproceedings)

am

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Towards Robust Online Inverse Dynamics Learning

Meier, F., Kappler, D., Ratliff, N., Schaal, S.

Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IEEE, IROS, 2016 (conference) Accepted

am

fmeier_iros_2016 [BibTex]

fmeier_iros_2016 [BibTex]


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Self-Supervised Regrasping using Spatio-Temporal Tactile Features and Reinforcement Learning

Chebotar, Y., Hausman, K., Su, Z., Sukhatme, G., Schaal, S.

In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2016, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2016 (inproceedings)

am

pdf video [BibTex]

pdf video [BibTex]


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Modeling Variability of Musculoskeletal Systems with Heteroscedastic Gaussian Processes

Büchler, D., Calandra, R., Peters, J.

Workshop on Neurorobotics, Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2016 (conference)

am ei

NIPS16Neurorobotics [BibTex]

NIPS16Neurorobotics [BibTex]


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Reconstructing Articulated Rigged Models from RGB-D Videos

Tzionas, D., Gall, J.

In European Conference on Computer Vision Workshops 2016 (ECCVW’16) - Workshop on Recovering 6D Object Pose (R6D’16), pages: 620-633, Springer International Publishing, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Although commercial and open-source software exist to reconstruct a static object from a sequence recorded with an RGB-D sensor, there is a lack of tools that build rigged models of articulated objects that deform realistically and can be used for tracking or animation. In this work, we fill this gap and propose a method that creates a fully rigged model of an articulated object from depth data of a single sensor. To this end, we combine deformable mesh tracking, motion segmentation based on spectral clustering and skeletonization based on mean curvature flow. The fully rigged model then consists of a watertight mesh, embedded skeleton, and skinning weights.

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pdf suppl Project's Website YouTube link (url) DOI [BibTex]

pdf suppl Project's Website YouTube link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Generalizing Regrasping with Supervised Policy Learning

Chebotar, Y., Hausman, K., Kroemer, O., Sukhatme, G., Schaal, S.

In International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER) 2016, International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, 2016 (inproceedings)

am

pdf video [BibTex]

pdf video [BibTex]


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Causal and statistical learning

Schölkopf, B., Janzing, D., Lopez-Paz, D.

Oberwolfach Reports, 13(3):1896-1899, (Editors: A. Christmann and K. Jetter and S. Smale and D.-X. Zhou), 2016 (conference)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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A Convex Model of Momentum Dynamics for Multi-Contact Motion Generation

Ponton, B., Herzog, A., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE-RAS 16th International Conference on Humanoid Robots Humanoids, pages: 842-849, IEEE, Cancun, Mexico, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Linear models for control and motion generation of humanoid robots have received significant attention in the past years, not only due to their well known theoretical guarantees, but also because of practical computational advantages. However, to tackle more challenging tasks and scenarios such as locomotion on uneven terrain, a more expressive model is required. In this paper, we are interested in contact interaction-centered motion optimization based on the momentum dynamics model. This model is non-linear and non-convex; however, we find a relaxation of the problem that allows us to formulate it as a single convex quadratically-constrained quadratic program (QCQP) that can be very efficiently optimized and is useful for multi-contact planning. This convex model is then coupled to the optimization of end-effector contact locations using a mixed integer program, which can also be efficiently solved. This becomes relevant e.g. to recover from external pushes, where a predefined stepping plan is likely to fail and an online adaptation of the contact location is needed. The performance of our algorithm is demonstrated in several multi-contact scenarios for a humanoid robot.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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On the Effects of Measurement Uncertainty in Optimal Control of Contact Interactions

Ponton, B., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In The 12th International Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics WAFR, Berkeley, USA, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Stochastic Optimal Control (SOC) typically considers noise only in the process model, i.e. unknown disturbances. However, in many robotic applications involving interaction with the environment, such as locomotion and manipulation, uncertainty also comes from lack of precise knowledge of the world, which is not an actual disturbance. We analyze the effects of also considering noise in the measurement model, by devel- oping a SOC algorithm based on risk-sensitive control, that includes the dynamics of an observer in such a way that the control law explicitly de- pends on the current measurement uncertainty. In simulation results on a simple 2D manipulator, we have observed that measurement uncertainty leads to low impedance behaviors, a result in contrast with the effects of process noise that creates stiff behaviors. This suggests that taking into account measurement uncertainty could be a potentially very interesting way to approach problems involving uncertain contact interactions.

am mg

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Inertial Sensor-Based Humanoid Joint State Estimation

Rotella, N., Mason, S., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 1825-1831, IEEE, Stockholm, Sweden, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This work presents methods for the determination of a humanoid robot's joint velocities and accelerations directly from link-mounted Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) each containing a three-axis gyroscope and a three-axis accelerometer. No information about the global pose of the floating base or its links is required and precise knowledge of the link IMU poses is not necessary due to presented calibration routines. Additionally, a filter is introduced to fuse gyroscope angular velocities with joint position measurements and compensate the computed joint velocities for time-varying gyroscope biases. The resulting joint velocities are subject to less noise and delay than filtered velocities computed from numerical differentiation of joint potentiometer signals, leading to superior performance in joint feedback control as demonstrated in experiments performed on a SARCOS hydraulic humanoid.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Stepping Stabilization Using a Combination of DCM Tracking and Step Adjustment

Khadiv, M., Kleff, S., Herzog, A., Moosavian, S. A. A., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 4th International Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics (ICROM), pages: 130-135, IEEE, Teheran, Iran, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, a method for stabilizing biped robots stepping by a combination of Divergent Component of Motion (DCM) tracking and step adjustment is proposed. In this method, the DCM trajectory is generated, consistent with the predefined footprints. Furthermore, a swing foot trajectory modification strategy is proposed to adapt the landing point, using DCM measurement. In order to apply the generated trajectories to the full robot, a Hierarchical Inverse Dynamics (HID) is employed. The HID enables us to use different combinations of the DCM tracking and step adjustment for stabilizing different biped robots. Simulation experiments on two scenarios for two different simulated robots, one with active ankles and the other with passive ankles, are carried out. Simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method for robots with both active and passive ankles.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Structured contact force optimization for kino-dynamic motion generation

Herzog, A., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pages: 2703-2710, IEEE, Daejeon, South Korea, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Optimal control approaches in combination with trajectory optimization have recently proven to be a promising control strategy for legged robots. Computationally efficient and robust algorithms were derived using simplified models of the contact interaction between robot and environment such as the linear inverted pendulum model (LIPM). However, as humanoid robots enter more complex environments, less restrictive models become increasingly important. As we leave the regime of linear models, we need to build dedicated solvers that can compute interaction forces together with consistent kinematic plans for the whole-body. In this paper, we address the problem of planning robot motion and interaction forces for legged robots given predefined contact surfaces. The motion generation process is decomposed into two alternating parts computing force and motion plans in coherence. We focus on the properties of the momentum computation leading to sparse optimal control formulations to be exploited by a dedicated solver. In our experiments, we demonstrate that our motion generation algorithm computes consistent contact forces and joint trajectories for our humanoid robot. We also demonstrate the favorable time complexity due to our formulation and composition of the momentum equations.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Balancing and Walking Using Full Dynamics LQR Control With Contact Constraints

Mason, S., Rotella, N., Schaal, S., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE-RAS 16th International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), pages: 63-68, IEEE, Cancun, Mexico, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Torque control algorithms which consider robot dynamics and contact constraints are important for creating dynamic behaviors for humanoids. As computational power increases, algorithms tend to also increase in complexity. However, it is not clear how much complexity is really required to create controllers which exhibit good performance. In this paper, we study the capabilities of a simple approach based on contact consistent LQR controllers designed around key poses to control various tasks on a humanoid robot. We present extensive experimental results on a hydraulic, torque controlled humanoid performing balancing and stepping tasks. This feedback control approach captures the necessary synergies between the DoFs of the robot to guarantee good control performance. We show that for the considered tasks, it is only necessary to re-linearize the dynamics of the robot at different contact configurations and that increasing the number of LQR controllers along desired trajectories does not improve performance. Our result suggest that very simple controllers can yield good performance competitive with current state of the art, but more complex, optimization-based whole-body controllers. A video of the experiments can be found at https://youtu.be/5T08CNKV1hw.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Step Timing Adjustement: a Step toward Generating Robust Gaits

Khadiv, M., Herzog, A., Moosavian, S. A. A., Righetti, L.

In 2016 IEEE-RAS 16th International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), pages: 35-42, IEEE, Cancun, Mexico, 2016 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Step adjustment for humanoid robots has been shown to improve robustness in gaits. However, step duration adaptation is often neglected in control strategies. In this paper, we propose an approach that combines both step location and timing adjustment for generating robust gaits. In this approach, step location and step timing are decided, based on feedback from the current state of the robot. The proposed approach is comprised of two stages. In the first stage, the nominal step location and step duration for the next step or a previewed number of steps are specified. In this stage which is done at the start of each step, the main goal is to specify the best step length and step duration for a desired walking speed. The second stage deals with finding the best landing point and landing time of the swing foot at each control cycle. In this stage, stability of the gaits is preserved by specifying a desired offset between the swing foot landing point and the Divergent Component of Motion (DCM) at the end of current step. After specifying the landing point of the swing foot at a desired time, the swing foot trajectory is regenerated at each control cycle to realize desired landing properties. Simulation on different scenarios shows the robustness of the generated gaits from our proposed approach compared to the case where no timing adjustment is employed.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2010


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Reinforcement learning of full-body humanoid motor skills

Stulp, F., Buchli, J., Theodorou, E., Schaal, S.

In Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), 2010 10th IEEE-RAS International Conference on, pages: 405-410, December 2010, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Applying reinforcement learning to humanoid robots is challenging because humanoids have a large number of degrees of freedom and state and action spaces are continuous. Thus, most reinforcement learning algorithms would become computationally infeasible and require a prohibitive amount of trials to explore such high-dimensional spaces. In this paper, we present a probabilistic reinforcement learning approach, which is derived from the framework of stochastic optimal control and path integrals. The algorithm, called Policy Improvement with Path Integrals (PI2), has a surprisingly simple form, has no open tuning parameters besides the exploration noise, is model-free, and performs numerically robustly in high dimensional learning problems. We demonstrate how PI2 is able to learn full-body motor skills on a 34-DOF humanoid robot. To demonstrate the generality of our approach, we also apply PI2 in the context of variable impedance control, where both planned trajectories and gain schedules for each joint are optimized simultaneously.

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link (url) [BibTex]

2010


link (url) [BibTex]


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Learning Table Tennis with a Mixture of Motor Primitives

Mülling, K., Kober, J., Peters, J.

In Proceedings of the 10th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids 2010), pages: 411-416, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 10th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), December 2010 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Table tennis is a sufficiently complex motor task for studying complete skill learning systems. It consists of several elementary motions and requires fast movements, accurate control, and online adaptation. To represent the elementary movements needed for robot table tennis, we rely on dynamic systems motor primitives (DMP). While such DMPs have been successfully used for learning a variety of simple motor tasks, they only represent single elementary actions. In order to select and generalize among different striking movements, we present a new approach, called Mixture of Motor Primitives that uses a gating network to activate appropriate motor primitives. The resulting policy enables us to select among the appropriate motor primitives as well as to generalize between them. In order to obtain a fully learned robot table tennis setup, we also address the problem of predicting the necessary context information, i.e., the hitting point in time and space where we want to hit the ball. We show that the resulting setup was capable of playing rudimentary table tennis using an anthropomorphic robot arm.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Learning an interactive segmentation system

Nickisch, H., Rother, C., Kohli, P., Rhemann, C.

In Proceedings of the Seventh Indian Conference on Computer Vision, Graphics and Image Processing (ICVGIP 2010), pages: 274-281, (Editors: Chellapa, R. , P. Anandan, A. N. Rajagopalan, P. J. Narayanan, P. Torr), ACM Press, Nw York, NY, USA, Seventh Indian Conference on Computer Vision, Graphics and Image Processing (ICVGIP), December 2010 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Many successful applications of computer vision to image or video manipulation are interactive by nature. However, parameters of such systems are often trained neglecting the user. Traditionally, interactive systems have been treated in the same manner as their fully automatic counterparts. Their performance is evaluated by computing the accuracy of their solutions under some fixed set of user interactions. This paper proposes a new evaluation and learning method which brings the user in the loop. It is based on the use of an active robot user -- a simulated model of a human user. We show how this approach can be used to evaluate and learn parameters of state-of-the-art interactive segmentation systems. We also show how simulated user models can be integrated into the popular max-margin method for parameter learning and propose an algorithm to solve the resulting optimisation problem.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Using an Infinite Von Mises-Fisher Mixture Model to Cluster Treatment Beam Directions in External Radiation Therapy

Bangert, M., Hennig, P., Oelfke, U.

In pages: 746-751 , (Editors: Draghici, S. , T.M. Khoshgoftaar, V. Palade, W. Pedrycz, M.A. Wani, X. Zhu), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, Ninth International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications (ICMLA), December 2010 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We present a method for fully automated selection of treatment beam ensembles for external radiation therapy. We reformulate the beam angle selection problem as a clustering problem of locally ideal beam orientations distributed on the unit sphere. For this purpose we construct an infinite mixture of von Mises-Fisher distributions, which is suited in general for density estimation from data on the D-dimensional sphere. Using a nonparametric Dirichlet process prior, our model infers probability distributions over both the number of clusters and their parameter values. We describe an efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo inference algorithm for posterior inference from experimental data in this model. The performance of the suggested beam angle selection framework is illustrated for one intra-cranial, pancreas, and prostate case each. The infinite von Mises-Fisher mixture model (iMFMM) creates between 18 and 32 clusters, depending on the patient anatomy. This suggests to use the iMFMM directly for beam ensemble selection in robotic radio surgery, or to generate low-dimensional input for both subsequent optimization of trajectories for arc therapy and beam ensemble selection for conventional radiation therapy.

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Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Online algorithms for submodular minimization with combinatorial constraints

Jegelka, S., Bilmes, J.

In pages: 1-6, NIPS Workshop on Discrete Optimization in Machine Learning: Structures, Algorithms and Applications (DISCML), December 2010 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Building on recent results for submodular minimization with combinatorial constraints, and on online submodular minimization, we address online approximation algorithms for submodular minimization with combinatorial constraints. We discuss two types of algorithms and outline approximation algorithms that integrate into those.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Multi-agent random walks for local clustering

Alamgir, M., von Luxburg, U.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM 2010), pages: 18-27, (Editors: Webb, G. I., B. Liu, C. Zhang, D. Gunopulos, X. Wu), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM), December 2010 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We consider the problem of local graph clustering where the aim is to discover the local cluster corresponding to a point of interest. The most popular algorithms to solve this problem start a random walk at the point of interest and let it run until some stopping criterion is met. The vertices visited are then considered the local cluster. We suggest a more powerful alternative, the multi-agent random walk. It consists of several “agents” connected by a fixed rope of length l. All agents move independently like a standard random walk on the graph, but they are constrained to have distance at most l from each other. The main insight is that for several agents it is harder to simultaneously travel over the bottleneck of a graph than for just one agent. Hence, the multi-agent random walk has less tendency to mistakenly merge two different clusters than the original random walk. In our paper we analyze the multi-agent random walk theoretically and compare it experimentally to the major local graph clustering algorithms from the literature. We find that our multi-agent random walk consistently outperforms these algorithms.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Effects of Packet Losses to Stability in Bilateral Teleoperation Systems

Hong, A., Cho, JH., Lee, DY.

In pages: 1043-1044, Korean Society of Mechanical Engineers, Seoul, South Korea, KSME Fall Annual Meeting, November 2010 (inproceedings)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Combining Real-Time Brain-Computer Interfacing and Robot Control for Stroke Rehabilitation

Gomez Rodriguez, M., Peters, J., Hill, J., Gharabaghi, A., Schölkopf, B., Grosse-Wentrup, M.

In Proceedings of SIMPAR 2010 Workshops, pages: 59-63, Brain-Computer Interface Workshop at SIMPAR: 2nd International Conference on Simulation, Modeling, and Programming for Autonomous Robots, November 2010 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Brain-Computer Interfaces based on electrocorticography (ECoG) or electroencephalography (EEG), in combination with robot-assisted active physical therapy, may support traditional rehabilitation procedures for patients with severe motor impairment due to cerebrovascular brain damage caused by stroke. In this short report, we briefly review the state-of-the art in this exciting new field, give an overview of the work carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and the University of T{\"u}bingen, and discuss challenges that need to be addressed in order to move from basic research to clinical studies.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Learning as a key ability for Human-Friendly Robots

Peters, J., Kober, J., Mülling, K., Krömer, O., Nguyen-Tuong, D., Wang, Z., Rodriguez Gomez, M., Grosse-Wentrup, M.

In pages: 1-2, 3rd Workshop for Young Researchers on Human-Friendly Robotics (HFR), October 2010 (inproceedings)

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Closing the sensorimotor loop: Haptic feedback facilitates decoding of arm movement imagery

Gomez Rodriguez, M., Peters, J., Hill, J., Schölkopf, B., Gharabaghi, A., Grosse-Wentrup, M.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC 2010), pages: 121-126, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC), October 2010 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) in combination with robot-assisted physical therapy may become a valuable tool for neurorehabilitation of patients with severe hemiparetic syndromes due to cerebrovascular brain damage (stroke) and other neurological conditions. A key aspect of this approach is reestablishing the disrupted sensorimotor feedback loop, i.e., determining the intended movement using a BCI and helping a human with impaired motor function to move the arm using a robot. It has not been studied yet, however, how artificially closing the sensorimotor feedback loop affects the BCI decoding performance. In this article, we investigate this issue in six healthy subjects, and present evidence that haptic feedback facilitates the decoding of arm movement intention. The results provide evidence of the feasibility of future rehabilitative efforts combining robot-assisted physical therapy with BCIs.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Learning Probabilistic Discriminative Models of Grasp Affordances under Limited Supervision

Erkan, A., Kroemer, O., Detry, R., Altun, Y., Piater, J., Peters, J.

In Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2010), pages: 1586-1591, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 2010 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), October 2010 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper addresses the problem of learning and efficiently representing discriminative probabilistic models of object-specific grasp affordances particularly when the number of labeled grasps is extremely limited. The proposed method does not require an explicit 3D model but rather learns an implicit manifold on which it defines a probability distribution over grasp affordances. We obtain hypothetical grasp configurations from visual descriptors that are associated with the contours of an object. While these hypothetical configurations are abundant, labeled configurations are very scarce as these are acquired via time-costly experiments carried out by the robot. Kernel logistic regression (KLR) via joint kernel maps is trained to map the hypothesis space of grasps into continuous class-conditional probability values indicating their achievability. We propose a soft-supervised extension of KLR and a framework to combine the merits of semi-supervised and active learning approaches to tackle the scarcity of labeled grasps. Experimental evaluation shows that combining active and semi-supervised learning is favorable in the existence of an oracle. Furthermore, semi-supervised learning outperforms supervised learning, particularly when the labeled data is very limited.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]