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[VIRTUAL] Fall 2020 GRASP SFI: Maria Bauza, MIT, “Beyond picking: how tactile and vision sensing can lead us to more dexterous and accurate robotic manipulation.”

October 28, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Daily, millions of object parts are assembled by hand, even when objects are rigid and well-known. A natural question follows: what is missing in robotics in order to automate these tasks? While in recent years picking solutions have made significant progress in warehouse automation, dexterous robotic manipulation often requires more than just a good grasp. In this talk, we will discuss how robots must also learn to accurately observe and manipulate the pose of grasped objects to achieve more complex manipulations. I will exemplify this in the case of kitting, an omnipresent task in assembly pipelines that consists of grasping a target object from an unsorted set of objects and placing it accurately in pre-established configuration. 

Kitting, like most manipulation tasks, requires a good perception system that can infer the state of manipulated objects. Because contact is unavoidable, tactile sensing becomes a rich source of state information. In recent work, we have shown that even tactile alone can be used to accurately localize manipulated objects. To put this results in practice, I will also present our first steps of developing a self-supervised kitting system that can achieve high performance, while allowing the flexibility to adapt to novel scenes. 


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Maria Bauza Villalonga is a PhD student in Robotics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working with Professor Alberto Rodriguez. Before that, she received Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Physics from CFIS, an excellence center at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Her research focuses on combining tactile and visual information to enhance robot dexterity during object manipulation.

Maria has received several fellowships including Facebook, NVIDIA, or LaCaixa fellowships. Her research has obtained awards such as Best Cognitive Paper award at IROS 2018, and Best Paper award finalist at IROS 2016. She was also part of the MIT-Princeton Team participating in the Amazon Robotics Challenge, winning the stowing task in 2017 and receiving the 2018 Amazon Best Systems Paper Award in Manipulation. web.mit.edu/bauza/www/


October 28, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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