Prof. Aude Billard was an invited speaker at (Empirically) Data-Driven Robotic Manipulation workshop, in Boston, USA on July 16th, 2017

There is a great excitement surrounding data-driven techniques for perceptual classification, inference, and motor control. These techniques come to robotic manipulation with the promise of enabling behavior with greater robustness, performance, and adaptability, as well as suggesting new representations for physical interaction. Recent excitement in the lab, however, is tempered by significant challenges faced when building practical data-driven robots. This workshop sets the focus on those challenges involved in making the data-driven approach work for robotic manipulation.

Robot manipulation is a useful “petri dish” for studying data-driven systems with significant potential impact. Hands, or end-effectors, are where the “rubber hits the road”—where robots make and break contact with the world; and where visual, tactile, and proprioceptive feedback combine to explore, model, and control interaction with the environment. In the course of such interaction, the robot is exposed to a great deal of information, in the form of data that is challenging to collect, maintain, organize, and use. On one end, we can only start capturing data with an already functional robotic system, which over time is prone to degrade and/or break. On the other end, the dynamics and perceptual feedback from robotic manipulation systems yield multi-modal data that is complicated to make sense of. The goal of this workshop is to identify the challenges that are preventing data-driven robotic manipulation from experiencing the same performance jump as other fields that have embraced it, and what can we do to overcome them.

Website: https://ddm2017.mit.edu/


Prof. Lourdes Agapito was a keynote speaker at ICRA 2017 in Singapore on May 30, 2017

Capturing Vivid 3D Models of the World from Video

As humans we take the ability to perceive the dynamic world around us in three dimensions for granted. From an early age we can grasp an object by adapting our fingers to its 3D shape; we can understand our mother’s feelings by interpreting her facial expressions; or we can effortlessly navigate through a busy street. All of these tasks require some internal 3D representation of shape, deformations and motion. Building algorithms that can emulate this level of human 3D perception has proved to be a much harder task than initially anticipated.

In this lecture Professor Lourdes Agapito will show progress from her early systems which captured sparse 3D models with primitive representations of deformation towards our most recent algorithms which can capture every fold and detail of hands, faces and clothes in 3D using as input video sequences taken with a single consumer camera.


Mirko Wächter was an invited speaker at the Roboterkontrollarchitekturen workshop in Dagstuhl, Germany on June 9, 2017

ArmarX – A Full Stack Robot Software Framework: From Real-Time Control to Symbolic Planning

In recent years, very complex systems have emerged, above all in service robotics and in assistant robotics. Due to better sensor technology, new methods of perception, efficient methods of localization and map generation as well as cognitive system components have been developed. Another aspect that supports this positive trend is the large number of open source robotic libraries. For example, the Robot Operating System – developed by Willow Garage – allows researchers to build basic systems faster. Secondly, it has helped to improve the reusability and integrability of large collections of community-driven robotic components. However, the growing complexity of robotic systems still poses a major challenge. Starting with a suitable embedded architecture, supporting control software development through powerful frameworks to control architecture, a suitable system design must be found to enable an efficient development process, and non-functional ones Features such as real-time capability, reliability, scalability or security. The workshop takes up this topic. Scientists working in these fields of research will present their latest scientific findings during the workshop. In addition, scientific questions are to be worked out that have so far been inadequately or not solved.


Dr Graham Deacon invited speaker at Humanoids 2017 workshop

SecondHands will be attending Humanoids 2017 IEEE RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots, November 15-17, 2017, Birmingham (UK).

Project coordinator, Dr Graham Deacon, from Ocado, will be presenting at Human-Humanoid collaboration: the next industrial revolution? giving an overview of the SecondHands project, including the challenges and research work to build an autonomous Maintenance Assistant that can work alongside a human maintenance assistant in the Ocado warehouse.



Prof. Lourdes Agapito Keynote speaker at BMVA technical meeting on Dynamic Scene Reconstruction

The British Machine Vision Association and Society for Pattern Recognition

Keynote speaker at the BMVA technical meeting: Dynamic Scene Reconstruction, Prof. Lourdes Agapito will present Capturing Vivid 3D Models of the World from Video, June 21st 2017, London, UK.

Workshop Theme: Reconstruction of general dynamic scenes is motivated by potential applications in film and broadcast production together with the ultimate goal of automatic understanding of real-world scenes. With advances in hardware and advent of virtual and augmented reality, dynamic scene reconstruction is being applied to more complex scenes. We present a workshop of oral presentations, posters and demos.


Prof. Agapito invited speaker at ICCV 2017 Workshop on 6D Object Pose

Invited speaker at 3rd International Workshop On Recovering 6D Object Pose at ICCV 2017 Prof. Lourdes Agapito, University College London will be presenting the impressive achievements of the vision system for the SecondHands project

Estimation of 6D object pose is of great importance to many higher level
tasks such as robotic manipulation, scene interpretation and augmented
reality. The workshop will feature several high-quality invited talks,
presentations of accepted papers, a panel discussion to identify open
problems, and a challenge with the goal of establishing the state of the
art in 6D object pose estimation from RGB or RGB-D images.



Prof. Aude Billard awarded ERC Advanced Grant

Congratulations to Prof. Aude Billard who has been awarded with an ERC Advanced Grant for her proposal entitled: Skill Acquisition in Humans and Robots.

News and results from ERC: https://erc.europa.eu/news/erc-advanced-grants-540-million-euros-eu-231-senior-researchers

List of all selected researchers (alphabetical order): https://erc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/document/file/ERC-2016-AdG-results-pe.pdf


Open source code for load share estimation

The SecondHands EPFL team has released open source code for wrench decomposition and load share estimation during physical interaction. The repository can be found at https://github.com/epfl-lasa/load-share-estimation. This ROS package is used to compute the load share of an object being supported by a robot and a third party (such as a person). The load share is the proportion of the object’s weight supported by the robot, and varies during cooperative tasks such as manipulation or handovers. This code is one of the main components enabling fluid handovers between the SecondHands robot assistant and its human partners. You can see a demo of how it works in this video


Ocado Technology is looking to expand its Robotics Research Team

If you are interested in the SecondHands project, Ocado Technology is looking to expand its Robotics Research Team to include someone that is based in Hatfield, UK, but is happy to travel as necessary to integrate cutting edge research work and turn it into working systems that provide real-world demonstrations of significant advances in the understanding of the principles of robotics and human-robot interfaces. Initially much of this work will be part of the SecondHands project, but the work of the team extends beyond this covering a number of topics ranging from production applications to more speculative pursuits. The post will persist beyond the duration of the SecondHands project.

More details of this vacancy and how to apply can be found at: http://careers.ocado.com/VacancyInformation.aspx?VId=26129


EuroHaptics 2016

Ocado Technology is proud to announce its support to the EuroHaptics 2016, which will be held in London (UK) on July 4 – 7, 2016. The conference will take place in central London at Imperial College, close to Hyde Park, between the Royal Albert Hall and the Natural History Museum.

The conference topics are:

  • Affective haptics
  • Art & design applications
  • Biomechanics and motor control
  • Control system design and analysis
  • Haptic HCI
  • Haptic collaboration and telerobotics
  • Haptic device design and dynamics
  • Haptic interfaces design
  • Haptic rendering and modeling
  • Human-robot haptic interaction
  • Medical applications
  • Multimodal interaction
  • Neuroscience of touch
  • Psychophysics and perception
  • Virtual reality.