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GRASP on Robotics: Dieter Fox, University of Washington, “Toward Object Manipulation Without Explicit Models”

December 3, 2021 @ 10:30 am - 11:45 am

*This was a HYBRID Event with in-person attendance in Wu & Chen Auditorium and Virtual attendance via Zoom Webinar


The prevalent approach to object manipulation is based on the availability of explicit 3D object models. By estimating the pose of such object models in a scene, a robot can readily reason about how to pick up an object, place it in a stable position, or avoid collisions. Unfortunately, assuming the availability of object models constrains the settings in which a robot can operate, and noise in estimating a model’s pose can result in brittle manipulation performance. In this talk, I will discuss our work on learning to manipulate unknown objects directly from visual (depth) data. Without any explicit 3D object models, these approaches are able to segment unknown object instances, pickup objects in cluttered scenes, and re-arrange them into desired configurations. I will also present recent work on combining pre-trained language and vision models to efficiently teach a robot to perform a variety of manipulation tasks. I’ll conclude with our initial work toward learning implicit representations for objects.


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Dieter Fox is Senior Director of Robotics Research at NVIDIA and Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he heads the UW Robotics and State Estimation Lab. Dieter obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn, Germany. His research is in robotics and artificial intelligence, with a focus on state estimation and perception applied to problems such as mapping, object detection and tracking, manipulation, and activity recognition. He has published more than 200 technical papers and is the co-author of the textbook “Probabilistic Robotics”. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, AAAI, and ACM, and recipient of the 2020 Pioneer in Robotics and Automation Award. Dieter also received several best paper awards at major robotics, AI, and computer vision conferences. He was an editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics, program co-chair of the 2008 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and program chair of the 2013 Robotics: Science and Systems conference.


December 3, 2021
10:30 am - 11:45 am
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Wu and Chen Auditorium
3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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