Workshop ICRA2021: Representing and Manipulating Deformable Objects

Deformable objects manipulation is a key component of a variety of everyday and specialized applications, ranging from domestic housework such as cloth folding or food handing, to medical scenarios such as surgery and suturing, up to industrial setups such as cable insertion. However, the large configuration space of deformable objects causes traditional modelling, planning and control approaches to fail when dealing with them. More specifically, unlike in the case of rigid objects, two main challenges arise: i) there is no clear and unified state representation and ii) the dynamics is complex and highly non-linear. This leads to the absence of current unified solutions and to highly domain-specific approaches emerging in the fields of perception, simulation, control and mechanics. In addition, the lack of scalable simulation environments limits possible developments in the above fields. We believe that robust progress can only be achieved by combining these complementary areas of robotics. Therefore, this workshop aims to start a discussion about the current state-of-the-art and possible research directions as well as connect people from different sub-fields to solve deformable objects challenges.

Content

Event description

The workshop is tailored towards researchers interested at deformable object manipulation and closely related problems such as modeling, perception, representation and mechanics. This workshop would give the community a chance to: identify open research challenges, find new applications for techniques that already exist in closely related areas, foster new collaborations, and get a good overview of the state -of-the-art from the invited talks. Speakers from the forefront of the research on deformable objects are invited to provide top-level insights. Furthermore, a review process from experienced researchers will be carried out giving young researchers the opportunity to receive valuable feedbacks. The scope of the workshop is intentionally broad as we think that different aspects need to be taken into account to effectively handle deformable objects and we want to enclose them in a single event, filling the lack of a dedicated session in the main robotics conferences.

Topic relevance

Despite the presence of deformable objects in a wide range of domains and tasks, endowing robots with the ability to manipulate them is still an open problem. This is motivated by the extreme complexity of representation and dynamics modeling of such objects. Although different methodologies exist in the recent state-of-the-art, tackling different aspects of deformable objects, no unified and comprehensive solution exists yet that can be easily generalized to non-specific objects. As possible approaches to state representation and modelling, topological coordinates and Finite Element Methods have been adopted for solving specific tasks. In contrast, data-driven approaches can be leveraged to circumvent explicit modelling at the cost of an expensive data collection. For this, although simulation environments would be most suited for collecting large amount of data, the current state-of-the-art does not enable it in an efficient and scalable manner. Moreover, even when a simulation setup is employed, the transfer of the acquired skills into real-world may be unsuccessful due to inaccurate simulation models of the involved dynamics. Alternatively, demonstrating specific interactions, and learning from them by imitation, can improve the efficiency of the system setup at the cost of its generality. In addition, further aspects need to be addressed to effectively manipulate deformable objects. Among those, employment and coordination of two or more arms can be necessary to properly manipulate highly deformable objects for both prehensile and non-prehensile manipulation. Finding efficient ways to combine planning and control is equally important in this regard. Finally, implementing the planned interaction can also be improved by specialized grippers or sensors, e.g., optical and haptic perception.

Specifically, this workshop will include (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • Representation and state estimation
  • Simulation and modeling
  • Transfer from simulation to reality
  • Data-driven methods: end-to-end learning, learning from demonstration, etc.
  • Perception: state tracking, parameter identification, property detection (e.g. landmarks for garments) and classification, etc.
  • Control, visual servoing and planning
  • Multi-arm manipulation
  • Specialized tools, e.g. grippers, and sensors
  • Application-specific challenges: cloth folding, surgical tasks, etc.

Call for papers

We invite participants to submit extended abstracts 3+n pages, with n pages (no page-limit) for the bibliography, in the IEEE conference style.

Submissions will be reviewed by experts of their respective field. The accepted abstracts will be made available on the workshop website but will not appear in the official IEEE conference proceedings. Participants are encouraged to submit their recent work on the topics of interest mentioned above. Contributions are encouraged, but are not required, to be original.

Abstracts can be submitted through Microsoft CMT: https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/WDOICRA2021.

Important dates:

  • Submission Deadline: 15.04.2021 AOE EXTENDED: 25.04.2021 AOE
  • Notification date: 15.05.2021 AOE
  • Workshop date: 31.05.2021

Schedule

Time Activity
09:00 - 09:15 Opening
09:15 - 09:45 David Navarro-Alarcon: On Latent Space Representations for Controlling Shapes of Deformable Objects
09:45 - 10:15 Xiang Li: daptive Control for Robotic Manipulation of Deformable Linear Objects with Offline and Online Learning of Unknown Models
10:15 - 10:45 Spotlight talks 1
10:45 - 11:15 Coffee break
11:15 – 11:45 Zackory M. Erickson: TBA
11:45 – 12:15 Bruno Siciliano: Tracking and Control for Dexterous Manipulation of 3D Soft Objects
12:15 – 12:45 Open discussion rounds
12:45 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 14:30 Dmitry Berenson: Learning Where to Trust Unreliable Models for Deformable Object Manipulation
14:30 – 15:00 Wenzhen Yuan: TBA
15:00 – 15:30 Spotlight talks 2
15:30- 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 – 16:30 Dinesh Manocha : Learning based Methods for High-DOF Grasping
16:30 – 17:00 Jeannette Bohg : Bridging Topology and Geometry Using Reinforcement Learning
17:00 – 17:45 Open discussion in groups
17:15 – 18:00 Closing remarks

Invited Speakers (alphabetical order)

Dmitry Berenson

Dmitry Berenson


Associate Professor Robotics Institute Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Dept.
University of Michigan, USA
Personal website

Talk title: Learning Where to Trust Unreliable Models for Deformable Object Manipulation


Jeannette Bohg

Jeannette Bohg


Assistant Professor for Robotics
Stanford University, USA
Personal website
Talk title: Bridging Topology and Geometry Using Reinforcement Learning

Zackory Erickson

Zackory Erickson


PhD candidate
Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Personal website
Talk title: TBA

LI, Xiang

Xiang Li


Associate Professor Department of Automation
Tsinghua University, China
Personal website
Talk title: Adaptive Control for Robotic Manipulation of Deformable Linear Objects
with Offline and Online Learning of Unknown Models

Dinesh Manocha

Dinesh Manocha


Paul Chrisman Iribe Professor of Computer Science,
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Department of Computer Science University of Maryland, USA
Personal website
Talk title: Learning based Methods for High-DOF Grasping

David Navarro-Alarcon

David Navarro-Alarcon


Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering
Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Personal website
Talk title: On Latent Space Representations for Controlling Shapes of Deformable Objects

Bruno Siciliano

Bruno Siciliano


Full Professor Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies
University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Personal website
Talk title: Tracking and Control for Dexterous Manipulation of 3D Soft Objects

Wenzhen Yuan

Wenzhen Yuan


Assistant professor in the Robotics Insititute (RI)
Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Personal website
Talk title: TBA

Main Organizers

  • Martina Lippi (primary contact), Roma Tre University, Italy
  • Michael C. Welle, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Anastasiia Varava , KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Co-Organizers

  • Hang Yin, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Rika Antonova, Stanford University, USA
  • Florian T. Pokorny, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Danica Kragic, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Yiannis Karayiannidis, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
  • Ville Kyrki, Aalto University, Finland
  • Alessandro Marino, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy
  • Julia Borras, Institut de Robotica i Informatica Industrial, Spain
  • Guillem Alenya, Institut de Robotica i Informatica Industrial, Spain
  • Carme Torras, Institut de Robotica i Informatica Industrial, Spain

Links

  • Group discussion round: If you are interested in participating in the group discussion round, please fill out the following Google form
  • Conference website: Link to the conference website https://www.ieee-icra.org/

Contact

If you have any questions please contact Martina Lippi at the email: martina.lippi AT uniroma3 DOT it