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2017


On the Design of {LQR} Kernels for Efficient Controller Learning
On the Design of LQR Kernels for Efficient Controller Learning

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

Proceedings of the 56th IEEE Annual Conference on Decision and Control (CDC), pages: 5193-5200, IEEE, IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, December 2017 (conference)

Abstract
Finding optimal feedback controllers for nonlinear dynamic systems from data is hard. Recently, Bayesian optimization (BO) has been proposed as a powerful framework for direct controller tuning from experimental trials. For selecting the next query point and finding the global optimum, BO relies on a probabilistic description of the latent objective function, typically a Gaussian process (GP). As is shown herein, GPs with a common kernel choice can, however, lead to poor learning outcomes on standard quadratic control problems. For a first-order system, we construct two kernels that specifically leverage the structure of the well-known Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR), yet retain the flexibility of Bayesian nonparametric learning. Simulations of uncertain linear and nonlinear systems demonstrate that the LQR kernels yield superior learning performance.

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arXiv PDF On the Design of LQR Kernels for Efficient Controller Learning - CDC presentation DOI Project Page [BibTex]

2017


arXiv PDF On the Design of LQR Kernels for Efficient Controller Learning - CDC presentation DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Synchronicity Trumps Mischief in Rhythmic Human-Robot Social-Physical Interaction

Fitter, N. T., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Robotics Research (ISRR), Puerto Varas, Chile, December 2017 (inproceedings) In press

Abstract
Hand-clapping games and other forms of rhythmic social-physical interaction might help foster human-robot teamwork, but the design of such interactions has scarcely been explored. We leveraged our prior work to enable the Rethink Robotics Baxter Research Robot to competently play one-handed tempo-matching hand-clapping games with a human user. To understand how such a robot’s capabilities and behaviors affect user perception, we created four versions of this interaction: the hand clapping could be initiated by either the robot or the human, and the non-initiating partner could be either cooperative, yielding synchronous motion, or mischievously uncooperative. Twenty adults tested two clapping tempos in each of these four interaction modes in a random order, rating every trial on standardized scales. The study results showed that having the robot initiate the interaction gave it a more dominant perceived personality. Despite previous results on the intrigue of misbehaving robots, we found that moving synchronously with the robot almost always made the interaction more enjoyable, less mentally taxing, less physically demanding, and lower effort for users than asynchronous interactions caused by robot or human mischief. Taken together, our results indicate that cooperative rhythmic social-physical interaction has the potential to strengthen human-robot partnerships.

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


Optimizing Long-term Predictions for Model-based Policy Search
Optimizing Long-term Predictions for Model-based Policy Search

Doerr, A., Daniel, C., Nguyen-Tuong, D., Marco, A., Schaal, S., Toussaint, M., Trimpe, S.

Proceedings of 1st Annual Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL), 78, pages: 227-238, (Editors: Sergey Levine and Vincent Vanhoucke and Ken Goldberg), 1st Annual Conference on Robot Learning, November 2017 (conference)

Abstract
We propose a novel long-term optimization criterion to improve the robustness of model-based reinforcement learning in real-world scenarios. Learning a dynamics model to derive a solution promises much greater data-efficiency and reusability compared to model-free alternatives. In practice, however, modelbased RL suffers from various imperfections such as noisy input and output data, delays and unmeasured (latent) states. To achieve higher resilience against such effects, we propose to optimize a generative long-term prediction model directly with respect to the likelihood of observed trajectories as opposed to the common approach of optimizing a dynamics model for one-step-ahead predictions. We evaluate the proposed method on several artificial and real-world benchmark problems and compare it to PILCO, a model-based RL framework, in experiments on a manipulation robot. The results show that the proposed method is competitive compared to state-of-the-art model learning methods. In contrast to these more involved models, our model can directly be employed for policy search and outperforms a baseline method in the robot experiment.

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PDF Project Page [BibTex]

PDF Project Page [BibTex]


A Generative Model of People in Clothing
A Generative Model of People in Clothing

Lassner, C., Pons-Moll, G., Gehler, P. V.

In Proceedings IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), October 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We present the first image-based generative model of people in clothing in a full-body setting. We sidestep the commonly used complex graphics rendering pipeline and the need for high-quality 3D scans of dressed people. Instead, we learn generative models from a large image database. The main challenge is to cope with the high variance in human pose, shape and appearance. For this reason, pure image-based approaches have not been considered so far. We show that this challenge can be overcome by splitting the generating process in two parts. First, we learn to generate a semantic segmentation of the body and clothing. Second, we learn a conditional model on the resulting segments that creates realistic images. The full model is differentiable and can be conditioned on pose, shape or color. The result are samples of people in different clothing items and styles. The proposed model can generate entirely new people with realistic clothing. In several experiments we present encouraging results that suggest an entirely data-driven approach to people generation is possible.

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link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


Semantic Video CNNs through Representation Warping
Semantic Video CNNs through Representation Warping

Gadde, R., Jampani, V., Gehler, P. V.

In Proceedings IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), October 2017 (inproceedings) Accepted

Abstract
In this work, we propose a technique to convert CNN models for semantic segmentation of static images into CNNs for video data. We describe a warping method that can be used to augment existing architectures with very lit- tle extra computational cost. This module is called Net- Warp and we demonstrate its use for a range of network architectures. The main design principle is to use optical flow of adjacent frames for warping internal network repre- sentations across time. A key insight of this work is that fast optical flow methods can be combined with many different CNN architectures for improved performance and end-to- end training. Experiments validate that the proposed ap- proach incurs only little extra computational cost, while im- proving performance, when video streams are available. We achieve new state-of-the-art results on the standard CamVid and Cityscapes benchmark datasets and show reliable im- provements over different baseline networks. Our code and models are available at http://segmentation.is. tue.mpg.de

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pdf Supplementary Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Supplementary Project Page [BibTex]


 Effects of animation retargeting on perceived action outcomes
Effects of animation retargeting on perceived action outcomes

Kenny, S., Mahmood, N., Honda, C., Black, M. J., Troje, N. F.

Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Applied Perception (SAP’17), pages: 2:1-2:7, September 2017 (conference)

Abstract
The individual shape of the human body, including the geometry of its articulated structure and the distribution of weight over that structure, influences the kinematics of a person's movements. How sensitive is the visual system to inconsistencies between shape and motion introduced by retargeting motion from one person onto the shape of another? We used optical motion capture to record five pairs of male performers with large differences in body weight, while they pushed, lifted, and threw objects. Based on a set of 67 markers, we estimated both the kinematics of the actions as well as the performer's individual body shape. To obtain consistent and inconsistent stimuli, we created animated avatars by combining the shape and motion estimates from either a single performer or from different performers. In a virtual reality environment, observers rated the perceived weight or thrown distance of the objects. They were also asked to explicitly discriminate between consistent and hybrid stimuli. Observers were unable to accomplish the latter, but hybridization of shape and motion influenced their judgements of action outcome in systematic ways. Inconsistencies between shape and motion were assimilated into an altered perception of the action outcome.

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pdf DOI [BibTex]

pdf DOI [BibTex]


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Stiffness Perception during Pinching and Dissection with Teleoperated Haptic Forceps

Ng, C., Zareinia, K., Sun, Q., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), pages: 456-463, Lisbon, Portugal, August 2017 (inproceedings)

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Coupling Adaptive Batch Sizes with Learning Rates
Coupling Adaptive Batch Sizes with Learning Rates

Balles, L., Romero, J., Hennig, P.

In Proceedings Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI) 2017, pages: 410-419, (Editors: Gal Elidan and Kristian Kersting), Association for Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (AUAI), Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI), August 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Mini-batch stochastic gradient descent and variants thereof have become standard for large-scale empirical risk minimization like the training of neural networks. These methods are usually used with a constant batch size chosen by simple empirical inspection. The batch size significantly influences the behavior of the stochastic optimization algorithm, though, since it determines the variance of the gradient estimates. This variance also changes over the optimization process; when using a constant batch size, stability and convergence is thus often enforced by means of a (manually tuned) decreasing learning rate schedule. We propose a practical method for dynamic batch size adaptation. It estimates the variance of the stochastic gradients and adapts the batch size to decrease the variance proportionally to the value of the objective function, removing the need for the aforementioned learning rate decrease. In contrast to recent related work, our algorithm couples the batch size to the learning rate, directly reflecting the known relationship between the two. On three image classification benchmarks, our batch size adaptation yields faster optimization convergence, while simultaneously simplifying learning rate tuning. A TensorFlow implementation is available.

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Code link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

Code link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


Joint Graph Decomposition and Node Labeling by Local Search
Joint Graph Decomposition and Node Labeling by Local Search

Levinkov, E., Uhrig, J., Tang, S., Omran, M., Insafutdinov, E., Kirillov, A., Rother, C., Brox, T., Schiele, B., Andres, B.

In 2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 1904-1912, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

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PDF Supplementary DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF Supplementary DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Dynamic {FAUST}: Registering Human Bodies in Motion
Dynamic FAUST: Registering Human Bodies in Motion

Bogo, F., Romero, J., Pons-Moll, G., Black, M. J.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
While the ready availability of 3D scan data has influenced research throughout computer vision, less attention has focused on 4D data; that is 3D scans of moving nonrigid objects, captured over time. To be useful for vision research, such 4D scans need to be registered, or aligned, to a common topology. Consequently, extending mesh registration methods to 4D is important. Unfortunately, no ground-truth datasets are available for quantitative evaluation and comparison of 4D registration methods. To address this we create a novel dataset of high-resolution 4D scans of human subjects in motion, captured at 60 fps. We propose a new mesh registration method that uses both 3D geometry and texture information to register all scans in a sequence to a common reference topology. The approach exploits consistency in texture over both short and long time intervals and deals with temporal offsets between shape and texture capture. We show how using geometry alone results in significant errors in alignment when the motions are fast and non-rigid. We evaluate the accuracy of our registration and provide a dataset of 40,000 raw and aligned meshes. Dynamic FAUST extends the popular FAUST dataset to dynamic 4D data, and is available for research purposes at http://dfaust.is.tue.mpg.de.

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pdf video Project Page Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf video Project Page Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


Learning from Synthetic Humans
Learning from Synthetic Humans

Varol, G., Romero, J., Martin, X., Mahmood, N., Black, M. J., Laptev, I., Schmid, C.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Estimating human pose, shape, and motion from images and videos are fundamental challenges with many applications. Recent advances in 2D human pose estimation use large amounts of manually-labeled training data for learning convolutional neural networks (CNNs). Such data is time consuming to acquire and difficult to extend. Moreover, manual labeling of 3D pose, depth and motion is impractical. In this work we present SURREAL (Synthetic hUmans foR REAL tasks): a new large-scale dataset with synthetically-generated but realistic images of people rendered from 3D sequences of human motion capture data. We generate more than 6 million frames together with ground truth pose, depth maps, and segmentation masks. We show that CNNs trained on our synthetic dataset allow for accurate human depth estimation and human part segmentation in real RGB images. Our results and the new dataset open up new possibilities for advancing person analysis using cheap and large-scale synthetic data.

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arXiv project data Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

arXiv project data Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


On human motion prediction using recurrent neural networks
On human motion prediction using recurrent neural networks

Martinez, J., Black, M. J., Romero, J.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Human motion modelling is a classical problem at the intersection of graphics and computer vision, with applications spanning human-computer interaction, motion synthesis, and motion prediction for virtual and augmented reality. Following the success of deep learning methods in several computer vision tasks, recent work has focused on using deep recurrent neural networks (RNNs) to model human motion, with the goal of learning time-dependent representations that perform tasks such as short-term motion prediction and long-term human motion synthesis. We examine recent work, with a focus on the evaluation methodologies commonly used in the literature, and show that, surprisingly, state-of-the-art performance can be achieved by a simple baseline that does not attempt to model motion at all. We investigate this result, and analyze recent RNN methods by looking at the architectures, loss functions, and training procedures used in state-of-the-art approaches. We propose three changes to the standard RNN models typically used for human motion, which result in a simple and scalable RNN architecture that obtains state-of-the-art performance on human motion prediction.

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arXiv Project Page [BibTex]

arXiv Project Page [BibTex]


Slow Flow: Exploiting High-Speed Cameras for Accurate and Diverse Optical Flow Reference Data
Slow Flow: Exploiting High-Speed Cameras for Accurate and Diverse Optical Flow Reference Data

Janai, J., Güney, F., Wulff, J., Black, M., Geiger, A.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, pages: 1406-1416, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Existing optical flow datasets are limited in size and variability due to the difficulty of capturing dense ground truth. In this paper, we tackle this problem by tracking pixels through densely sampled space-time volumes recorded with a high-speed video camera. Our model exploits the linearity of small motions and reasons about occlusions from multiple frames. Using our technique, we are able to establish accurate reference flow fields outside the laboratory in natural environments. Besides, we show how our predictions can be used to augment the input images with realistic motion blur. We demonstrate the quality of the produced flow fields on synthetic and real-world datasets. Finally, we collect a novel challenging optical flow dataset by applying our technique on data from a high-speed camera and analyze the performance of the state-of-the-art in optical flow under various levels of motion blur.

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pdf suppmat Project page Video DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf suppmat Project page Video DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Optical Flow in Mostly Rigid Scenes
Optical Flow in Mostly Rigid Scenes

Wulff, J., Sevilla-Lara, L., Black, M. J.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, pages: 6911-6920, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The optical flow of natural scenes is a combination of the motion of the observer and the independent motion of objects. Existing algorithms typically focus on either recovering motion and structure under the assumption of a purely static world or optical flow for general unconstrained scenes. We combine these approaches in an optical flow algorithm that estimates an explicit segmentation of moving objects from appearance and physical constraints. In static regions we take advantage of strong constraints to jointly estimate the camera motion and the 3D structure of the scene over multiple frames. This allows us to also regularize the structure instead of the motion. Our formulation uses a Plane+Parallax framework, which works even under small baselines, and reduces the motion estimation to a one-dimensional search problem, resulting in more accurate estimation. In moving regions the flow is treated as unconstrained, and computed with an existing optical flow method. The resulting Mostly-Rigid Flow (MR-Flow) method achieves state-of-the-art results on both the MPISintel and KITTI-2015 benchmarks.

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pdf SupMat video code Project Page [BibTex]

pdf SupMat video code Project Page [BibTex]


OctNet: Learning Deep 3D Representations at High Resolutions
OctNet: Learning Deep 3D Representations at High Resolutions

Riegler, G., Ulusoy, O., Geiger, A.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We present OctNet, a representation for deep learning with sparse 3D data. In contrast to existing models, our representation enables 3D convolutional networks which are both deep and high resolution. Towards this goal, we exploit the sparsity in the input data to hierarchically partition the space using a set of unbalanced octrees where each leaf node stores a pooled feature representation. This allows to focus memory allocation and computation to the relevant dense regions and enables deeper networks without compromising resolution. We demonstrate the utility of our OctNet representation by analyzing the impact of resolution on several 3D tasks including 3D object classification, orientation estimation and point cloud labeling.

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pdf suppmat Project Page Video Project Page [BibTex]

pdf suppmat Project Page Video Project Page [BibTex]


Reflectance Adaptive Filtering Improves Intrinsic Image Estimation
Reflectance Adaptive Filtering Improves Intrinsic Image Estimation

Nestmeyer, T., Gehler, P. V.

In 2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 1771-1780, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

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pre-print DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pre-print DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


Detailed, accurate, human shape estimation from clothed {3D} scan sequences
Detailed, accurate, human shape estimation from clothed 3D scan sequences

Zhang, C., Pujades, S., Black, M., Pons-Moll, G.

In 2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017, Spotlight (inproceedings)

Abstract
We address the problem of estimating human body shape from 3D scans over time. Reliable estimation of 3D body shape is necessary for many applications including virtual try-on, health monitoring, and avatar creation for virtual reality. Scanning bodies in minimal clothing, however, presents a practical barrier to these applications. We address this problem by estimating body shape under clothing from a sequence of 3D scans. Previous methods that have exploited statistical models of body shape produce overly smooth shapes lacking personalized details. In this paper we contribute a new approach to recover not only an approximate shape of the person, but also their detailed shape. Our approach allows the estimated shape to deviate from a parametric model to fit the 3D scans. We demonstrate the method using high quality 4D data as well as sequences of visual hulls extracted from multi-view images. We also make available a new high quality 4D dataset that enables quantitative evaluation. Our method outperforms the previous state of the art, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

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arxiv_preprint video dataset pdf supplemental DOI Project Page [BibTex]

arxiv_preprint video dataset pdf supplemental DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Optical Flow Estimation using a Spatial Pyramid Network
Optical Flow Estimation using a Spatial Pyramid Network

Ranjan, A., Black, M.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We learn to compute optical flow by combining a classical spatial-pyramid formulation with deep learning. This estimates large motions in a coarse-to-fine approach by warping one image of a pair at each pyramid level by the current flow estimate and computing an update to the flow. Instead of the standard minimization of an objective function at each pyramid level, we train one deep network per level to compute the flow update. Unlike the recent FlowNet approach, the networks do not need to deal with large motions; these are dealt with by the pyramid. This has several advantages. First, our Spatial Pyramid Network (SPyNet) is much simpler and 96% smaller than FlowNet in terms of model parameters. This makes it more efficient and appropriate for embedded applications. Second, since the flow at each pyramid level is small (< 1 pixel), a convolutional approach applied to pairs of warped images is appropriate. Third, unlike FlowNet, the learned convolution filters appear similar to classical spatio-temporal filters, giving insight into the method and how to improve it. Our results are more accurate than FlowNet on most standard benchmarks, suggesting a new direction of combining classical flow methods with deep learning.

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pdf SupMat project/code [BibTex]

pdf SupMat project/code [BibTex]


Multiple People Tracking by Lifted Multicut and Person Re-identification
Multiple People Tracking by Lifted Multicut and Person Re-identification

Tang, S., Andriluka, M., Andres, B., Schiele, B.

In 2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 3701-3710, IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

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DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


{3D} Menagerie: Modeling the {3D} Shape and Pose of Animals
3D Menagerie: Modeling the 3D Shape and Pose of Animals

Zuffi, S., Kanazawa, A., Jacobs, D., Black, M. J.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, pages: 5524-5532, IEEE, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
There has been significant work on learning realistic, articulated, 3D models of the human body. In contrast, there are few such models of animals, despite many applications. The main challenge is that animals are much less cooperative than humans. The best human body models are learned from thousands of 3D scans of people in specific poses, which is infeasible with live animals. Consequently, we learn our model from a small set of 3D scans of toy figurines in arbitrary poses. We employ a novel part-based shape model to compute an initial registration to the scans. We then normalize their pose, learn a statistical shape model, and refine the registrations and the model together. In this way, we accurately align animal scans from different quadruped families with very different shapes and poses. With the registration to a common template we learn a shape space representing animals including lions, cats, dogs, horses, cows and hippos. Animal shapes can be sampled from the model, posed, animated, and fit to data. We demonstrate generalization by fitting it to images of real animals including species not seen in training.

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pdf video Project Page [BibTex]

pdf video Project Page [BibTex]


Video Propagation Networks
Video Propagation Networks

Jampani, V., Gadde, R., Gehler, P. V.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

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pdf supplementary arXiv project page code Project Page [BibTex]

pdf supplementary arXiv project page code Project Page [BibTex]


Generating Descriptions with Grounded and Co-Referenced People
Generating Descriptions with Grounded and Co-Referenced People

Rohrbach, A., Rohrbach, M., Tang, S., Oh, S. J., Schiele, B.

In 2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 4196-4206, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

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PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Semantic Multi-view Stereo: Jointly Estimating Objects and Voxels
Semantic Multi-view Stereo: Jointly Estimating Objects and Voxels

Ulusoy, A. O., Black, M. J., Geiger, A.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Dense 3D reconstruction from RGB images is a highly ill-posed problem due to occlusions, textureless or reflective surfaces, as well as other challenges. We propose object-level shape priors to address these ambiguities. Towards this goal, we formulate a probabilistic model that integrates multi-view image evidence with 3D shape information from multiple objects. Inference in this model yields a dense 3D reconstruction of the scene as well as the existence and precise 3D pose of the objects in it. Our approach is able to recover fine details not captured in the input shapes while defaulting to the input models in occluded regions where image evidence is weak. Due to its probabilistic nature, the approach is able to cope with the approximate geometry of the 3D models as well as input shapes that are not present in the scene. We evaluate the approach quantitatively on several challenging indoor and outdoor datasets.

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YouTube pdf suppmat Project Page [BibTex]

YouTube pdf suppmat Project Page [BibTex]


Deep representation learning for human motion prediction and classification
Deep representation learning for human motion prediction and classification

Bütepage, J., Black, M., Kragic, D., Kjellström, H.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Generative models of 3D human motion are often restricted to a small number of activities and can therefore not generalize well to novel movements or applications. In this work we propose a deep learning framework for human motion capture data that learns a generic representation from a large corpus of motion capture data and generalizes well to new, unseen, motions. Using an encoding-decoding network that learns to predict future 3D poses from the most recent past, we extract a feature representation of human motion. Most work on deep learning for sequence prediction focuses on video and speech. Since skeletal data has a different structure, we present and evaluate different network architectures that make different assumptions about time dependencies and limb correlations. To quantify the learned features, we use the output of different layers for action classification and visualize the receptive fields of the network units. Our method outperforms the recent state of the art in skeletal motion prediction even though these use action specific training data. Our results show that deep feedforward networks, trained from a generic mocap database, can successfully be used for feature extraction from human motion data and that this representation can be used as a foundation for classification and prediction.

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arXiv Project Page [BibTex]

arXiv Project Page [BibTex]


Unite the People: Closing the Loop Between 3D and 2D Human Representations
Unite the People: Closing the Loop Between 3D and 2D Human Representations

Lassner, C., Romero, J., Kiefel, M., Bogo, F., Black, M. J., Gehler, P. V.

In Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2017, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
3D models provide a common ground for different representations of human bodies. In turn, robust 2D estimation has proven to be a powerful tool to obtain 3D fits “in-the-wild”. However, depending on the level of detail, it can be hard to impossible to acquire labeled data for training 2D estimators on large scale. We propose a hybrid approach to this problem: with an extended version of the recently introduced SMPLify method, we obtain high quality 3D body model fits for multiple human pose datasets. Human annotators solely sort good and bad fits. This procedure leads to an initial dataset, UP-3D, with rich annotations. With a comprehensive set of experiments, we show how this data can be used to train discriminative models that produce results with an unprecedented level of detail: our models predict 31 segments and 91 landmark locations on the body. Using the 91 landmark pose estimator, we present state-of-the art results for 3D human pose and shape estimation using an order of magnitude less training data and without assumptions about gender or pose in the fitting procedure. We show that UP-3D can be enhanced with these improved fits to grow in quantity and quality, which makes the system deployable on large scale. The data, code and models are available for research purposes.

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arXiv project/code/data Project Page [BibTex]

arXiv project/code/data Project Page [BibTex]


Locomotion of light-driven soft microrobots through a hydrogel via local melting
Locomotion of light-driven soft microrobots through a hydrogel via local melting

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

In 2017 International Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS), pages: 1-5, July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Soft mobile microrobots whose deformation can be directly controlled by an external field can adapt to move in different environments. This is the case for the light-driven microrobots based on liquid-crystal elastomers (LCEs). Here we show that the soft microrobots can move through an agarose hydrogel by means of light-controlled travelling-wave motions. This is achieved by exploiting the inherent rise of the LCE temperature above the melting temperature of the agarose gel, which facilitates penetration of the microrobot through the hydrogel. The locomotion performance is investigated as a function of the travelling-wave parameters, showing that effective propulsion can be obtained by adapting the generated motion to the specific environmental conditions.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Towards quantifying dynamic human-human physical interactions for robot assisted stroke therapy

Mohan, M., Mendonca, R., Johnson, M. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), London, UK, July 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Human-Robot Interaction is a prominent field of robotics today. Knowledge of human-human physical interaction can prove vital in creating dynamic physical interactions between human and robots. Most of the current work in studying this interaction has been from a haptic perspective. Through this paper, we present metrics that can be used to identify if a physical interaction occurred between two people using kinematics. We present a simple Activity of Daily Living (ADL) task which involves a simple interaction. We show that we can use these metrics to successfully identify interactions.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Design of a Parallel Continuum Manipulator for 6-DOF Fingertip Haptic Display

Young, E. M., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC), pages: 599-604, Munich, Germany, June 2017, Finalist for best poster paper (inproceedings)

Abstract
Despite rapid advancements in the field of fingertip haptics, rendering tactile cues with six degrees of freedom (6 DOF) remains an elusive challenge. In this paper, we investigate the potential of displaying fingertip haptic sensations with a 6-DOF parallel continuum manipulator (PCM) that mounts to the user's index finger and moves a contact platform around the fingertip. Compared to traditional mechanisms composed of rigid links and discrete joints, PCMs have the potential to be strong, dexterous, and compact, but they are also more complicated to design. We define the design space of 6-DOF parallel continuum manipulators and outline a process for refining such a device for fingertip haptic applications. Following extensive simulation, we obtain 12 designs that meet our specifications, construct a manually actuated prototype of one such design, and evaluate the simulation's ability to accurately predict the prototype's motion. Finally, we demonstrate the range of deliverable fingertip tactile cues, including a normal force into the finger and shear forces tangent to the finger at three extreme points on the boundary of the fingertip.

hi

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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High Magnitude Unidirectional Haptic Force Display Using a Motor/Brake Pair and a Cable

Hu, S., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC), pages: 394-399, Munich, Germany, June 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Clever electromechanical design is required to make the force feedback delivered by a kinesthetic haptic interface both strong and safe. This paper explores a onedimensional haptic force display that combines a DC motor and a magnetic particle brake on the same shaft. Rather than a rigid linkage, a spooled cable connects the user to the actuators to enable a large workspace, reduce the moving mass, and eliminate the sticky residual force from the brake. This design combines the high torque/power ratio of the brake and the active output capabilities of the motor to provide a wider range of forces than can be achieved with either actuator alone. A prototype of this device was built, its performance was characterized, and it was used to simulate constant force sources and virtual springs and dampers. Compared to the conventional design of using only a motor, the hybrid device can output higher unidirectional forces at the expense of free space feeling less free.

hi

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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A Stimulus-Response Model Of Therapist-Patient Interactions In Task-Oriented Stroke Therapy Can Guide Robot-Patient Interactions

Johnson, M., Mohan, M., Mendonca, R.

In Proceedings of the Annual Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Conference, New Orleans, USA, June 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Current robot-patient interactions do not accurately model therapist-patient interactions in task-oriented stroke therapy. We analyzed patient-therapist interactions in task-oriented stroke therapy captured in 8 videos. We developed a model of the interaction between a patient and a therapist that can be overlaid on a stimulus-response paradigm where the therapist and the patient take on a set of acting states or roles and are motivated to move from one role to another when certain physical or verbal stimuli or cues are sensed and received. We examined how the model varies across 8 activities of daily living tasks and map this to a possible model for robot-patient interaction.

hi

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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A Wrist-Squeezing Force-Feedback System for Robotic Surgery Training

Brown, J. D., Fernandez, J. N., Cohen, S. P., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC), pages: 107-112, Munich, Germany, June 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Over time, surgical trainees learn to compensate for the lack of haptic feedback in commercial robotic minimally invasive surgical systems. Incorporating touch cues into robotic surgery training could potentially shorten this learning process if the benefits of haptic feedback were sustained after it is removed. In this paper, we develop a wrist-squeezing haptic feedback system and evaluate whether it holds the potential to train novice da Vinci users to reduce the force they exert on a bimanual inanimate training task. Subjects were randomly divided into two groups according to a multiple baseline experimental design. Each of the ten participants moved a ring along a curved wire nine times while the haptic feedback was conditionally withheld, provided, and withheld again. The realtime tactile feedback of applied force magnitude significantly reduced the integral of the force produced by the da Vinci tools on the task materials, and this result remained even when the haptic feedback was removed. Overall, our findings suggest that wrist-squeezing force feedback can play an essential role in helping novice trainees learn to minimize the force they exert with a surgical robot.

hi

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Handling Scan-Time Parameters in Haptic Surface Classification

Burka, A., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC), pages: 424-429, Munich, Germany, June 2017 (inproceedings)

hi

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Model-Based Policy Search for Automatic Tuning of Multivariate PID Controllers
Model-Based Policy Search for Automatic Tuning of Multivariate PID Controllers

Doerr, A., Nguyen-Tuong, D., Marco, A., Schaal, S., Trimpe, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 5295-5301, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2017 (inproceedings)

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PDF arXiv DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF arXiv DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Virtual vs. {R}eal: Trading Off Simulations and Physical Experiments in Reinforcement Learning with {B}ayesian Optimization
Virtual vs. Real: Trading Off Simulations and Physical Experiments in Reinforcement Learning with Bayesian Optimization

Marco, A., Berkenkamp, F., Hennig, P., Schoellig, A. P., Krause, A., Schaal, S., Trimpe, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 1557-1563, IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2017 (inproceedings)

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PDF arXiv ICRA 2017 Spotlight presentation Virtual vs. Real - Video explanation DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF arXiv ICRA 2017 Spotlight presentation Virtual vs. Real - Video explanation DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Proton 2: Increasing the Sensitivity and Portability of a Visuo-haptic Surface Interaction Recorder

Burka, A., Rajvanshi, A., Allen, S., Kuchenbecker, K. J.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pages: 439-445, Singapore, May 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The Portable Robotic Optical/Tactile ObservatioN PACKage (PROTONPACK, or Proton for short) is a new handheld visuo-haptic sensing system that records surface interactions. We previously demonstrated system calibration and a classification task using external motion tracking. This paper details improvements in surface classification performance and removal of the dependence on external motion tracking, necessary before embarking on our goal of gathering a vast surface interaction dataset. Two experiments were performed to refine data collection parameters. After adjusting the placement and filtering of the Proton's high-bandwidth accelerometers, we recorded interactions between two differently-sized steel tooling ball end-effectors (diameter 6.35 and 9.525 mm) and five surfaces. Using features based on normal force, tangential force, end-effector speed, and contact vibration, we trained multi-class SVMs to classify the surfaces using 50 ms chunks of data from each end-effector. Classification accuracies of 84.5% and 91.5% respectively were achieved on unseen test data, an improvement over prior results. In parallel, we pursued on-board motion tracking, using the Proton's camera and fiducial markers. Motion tracks from the external and onboard trackers agree within 2 mm and 0.01 rad RMS, and the accuracy decreases only slightly to 87.7% when using onboard tracking for the 9.525 mm end-effector. These experiments indicate that the Proton 2 is ready for portable data collection.

hi

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Wireless micro-robots for endoscopic applications in urology
Wireless micro-robots for endoscopic applications in urology

Adams, F., Qiu, T., Mark, A. G., Melde, K., Palagi, S., Miernik, A., Fischer, P.

In Eur Urol Suppl, 16(3):e1914, March 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Endoscopy is an essential and common method for both diagnostics and therapy in Urology. Current flexible endoscope is normally cable-driven, thus it is hard to be miniaturized and its reachability is restricted as only one bending section near the tip with one degree of freedom (DoF) is allowed. Recent progresses in micro-robotics offer a unique opportunity for medical inspections in minimally invasive surgery. Micro-robots are active devices that has a feature size smaller than one millimeter and can normally be actuated and controlled wirelessly. Magnetically actuated micro-robots have been demonstrated to propel through biological fluids.Here, we report a novel micro robotic arm, which is actuated wirelessly by ultrasound. It works as a miniaturized endoscope with a side length of ~1 mm, which fits through the 3 Fr. tool channel of a cystoscope, and successfully performs an active cystoscopy in a rabbit bladder.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Towards Accurate Marker-less Human Shape and Pose Estimation over Time
Towards Accurate Marker-less Human Shape and Pose Estimation over Time

Huang, Y., Bogo, F., Lassner, C., Kanazawa, A., Gehler, P. V., Romero, J., Akhter, I., Black, M. J.

In International Conference on 3D Vision (3DV), pages: 421-430, 2017 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Existing markerless motion capture methods often assume known backgrounds, static cameras, and sequence specific motion priors, limiting their application scenarios. Here we present a fully automatic method that, given multiview videos, estimates 3D human pose and body shape. We take the recently proposed SMPLify method [12] as the base method and extend it in several ways. First we fit a 3D human body model to 2D features detected in multi-view images. Second, we use a CNN method to segment the person in each image and fit the 3D body model to the contours, further improving accuracy. Third we utilize a generic and robust DCT temporal prior to handle the left and right side swapping issue sometimes introduced by the 2D pose estimator. Validation on standard benchmarks shows our results are comparable to the state of the art and also provide a realistic 3D shape avatar. We also demonstrate accurate results on HumanEva and on challenging monocular sequences of dancing from YouTube.

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Code pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

2015


Exploiting Object Similarity in 3D Reconstruction
Exploiting Object Similarity in 3D Reconstruction

Zhou, C., Güney, F., Wang, Y., Geiger, A.

In International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), December 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Despite recent progress, reconstructing outdoor scenes in 3D from movable platforms remains a highly difficult endeavor. Challenges include low frame rates, occlusions, large distortions and difficult lighting conditions. In this paper, we leverage the fact that the larger the reconstructed area, the more likely objects of similar type and shape will occur in the scene. This is particularly true for outdoor scenes where buildings and vehicles often suffer from missing texture or reflections, but share similarity in 3D shape. We take advantage of this shape similarity by locating objects using detectors and jointly reconstructing them while learning a volumetric model of their shape. This allows us to reduce noise while completing missing surfaces as objects of similar shape benefit from all observations for the respective category. We evaluate our approach with respect to LIDAR ground truth on a novel challenging suburban dataset and show its advantages over the state-of-the-art.

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pdf suppmat [BibTex]

2015


pdf suppmat [BibTex]


FollowMe: Efficient Online Min-Cost Flow Tracking with Bounded Memory and Computation
FollowMe: Efficient Online Min-Cost Flow Tracking with Bounded Memory and Computation

Lenz, P., Geiger, A., Urtasun, R.

In International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), December 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
One of the most popular approaches to multi-target tracking is tracking-by-detection. Current min-cost flow algorithms which solve the data association problem optimally have three main drawbacks: they are computationally expensive, they assume that the whole video is given as a batch, and they scale badly in memory and computation with the length of the video sequence. In this paper, we address each of these issues, resulting in a computationally and memory-bounded solution. First, we introduce a dynamic version of the successive shortest-path algorithm which solves the data association problem optimally while reusing computation, resulting in faster inference than standard solvers. Second, we address the optimal solution to the data association problem when dealing with an incoming stream of data (i.e., online setting). Finally, we present our main contribution which is an approximate online solution with bounded memory and computation which is capable of handling videos of arbitrary length while performing tracking in real time. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithms on the KITTI and PETS2009 benchmarks and show state-of-the-art performance, while being significantly faster than existing solvers.

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pdf suppmat video project [BibTex]

pdf suppmat video project [BibTex]


Intrinsic Depth: Improving Depth Transfer with Intrinsic Images
Intrinsic Depth: Improving Depth Transfer with Intrinsic Images

Kong, N., Black, M. J.

In IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), pages: 3514-3522, International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), December 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We formulate the estimation of dense depth maps from video sequences as a problem of intrinsic image estimation. Our approach synergistically integrates the estimation of multiple intrinsic images including depth, albedo, shading, optical flow, and surface contours. We build upon an example-based framework for depth estimation that uses label transfer from a database of RGB and depth pairs. We combine this with a method that extracts consistent albedo and shading from video. In contrast to raw RGB values, albedo and shading provide a richer, more physical, foundation for depth transfer. Additionally we train a new contour detector to predict surface boundaries from albedo, shading, and pixel values and use this to improve the estimation of depth boundaries. We also integrate sparse structure from motion with our method to improve the metric accuracy of the estimated depth maps. We evaluate our Intrinsic Depth method quantitatively by estimating depth from videos in the NYU RGB-D and SUN3D datasets. We find that combining the estimation of multiple intrinsic images improves depth estimation relative to the baseline method.

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pdf suppmat YouTube official video poster Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf suppmat YouTube official video poster Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


Detailed Full-Body Reconstructions of Moving People from Monocular {RGB-D} Sequences
Detailed Full-Body Reconstructions of Moving People from Monocular RGB-D Sequences

Bogo, F., Black, M. J., Loper, M., Romero, J.

In International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), pages: 2300-2308, December 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We accurately estimate the 3D geometry and appearance of the human body from a monocular RGB-D sequence of a user moving freely in front of the sensor. Range data in each frame is first brought into alignment with a multi-resolution 3D body model in a coarse-to-fine process. The method then uses geometry and image texture over time to obtain accurate shape, pose, and appearance information despite unconstrained motion, partial views, varying resolution, occlusion, and soft tissue deformation. Our novel body model has variable shape detail, allowing it to capture faces with a high-resolution deformable head model and body shape with lower-resolution. Finally we combine range data from an entire sequence to estimate a high-resolution displacement map that captures fine shape details. We compare our recovered models with high-resolution scans from a professional system and with avatars created by a commercial product. We extract accurate 3D avatars from challenging motion sequences and even capture soft tissue dynamics.

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Video pdf Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

Video pdf Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


3D Object Reconstruction from Hand-Object Interactions
3D Object Reconstruction from Hand-Object Interactions

Tzionas, D., Gall, J.

In International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), pages: 729-737, International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), December 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Recent advances have enabled 3d object reconstruction approaches using a single off-the-shelf RGB-D camera. Although these approaches are successful for a wide range of object classes, they rely on stable and distinctive geometric or texture features. Many objects like mechanical parts, toys, household or decorative articles, however, are textureless and characterized by minimalistic shapes that are simple and symmetric. Existing in-hand scanning systems and 3d reconstruction techniques fail for such symmetric objects in the absence of highly distinctive features. In this work, we show that extracting 3d hand motion for in-hand scanning effectively facilitates the reconstruction of even featureless and highly symmetric objects and we present an approach that fuses the rich additional information of hands into a 3d reconstruction pipeline, significantly contributing to the state-of-the-art of in-hand scanning.

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pdf Project's Website Video Spotlight Extended Abstract YouTube DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Project's Website Video Spotlight Extended Abstract YouTube DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Automatic LQR Tuning Based on Gaussian Process Optimization: Early Experimental Results
Automatic LQR Tuning Based on Gaussian Process Optimization: Early Experimental Results

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

Machine Learning in Planning and Control of Robot Motion Workshop at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (iROS), pages: , , Machine Learning in Planning and Control of Robot Motion Workshop, October 2015 (conference)

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. Preliminary results of a low-dimensional tuning problem highlight the method’s potential for automatic controller tuning on robotic platforms.

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PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Towards Probabilistic Volumetric Reconstruction using Ray Potentials
Towards Probabilistic Volumetric Reconstruction using Ray Potentials

(Best Paper Award)

Ulusoy, A. O., Geiger, A., Black, M. J.

In 3D Vision (3DV), 2015 3rd International Conference on, pages: 10-18, Lyon, October 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper presents a novel probabilistic foundation for volumetric 3-d reconstruction. We formulate the problem as inference in a Markov random field, which accurately captures the dependencies between the occupancy and appearance of each voxel, given all input images. Our main contribution is an approximate highly parallelized discrete-continuous inference algorithm to compute the marginal distributions of each voxel's occupancy and appearance. In contrast to the MAP solution, marginals encode the underlying uncertainty and ambiguity in the reconstruction. Moreover, the proposed algorithm allows for a Bayes optimal prediction with respect to a natural reconstruction loss. We compare our method to two state-of-the-art volumetric reconstruction algorithms on three challenging aerial datasets with LIDAR ground truth. Our experiments demonstrate that the proposed algorithm compares favorably in terms of reconstruction accuracy and the ability to expose reconstruction uncertainty.

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code YouTube pdf suppmat DOI Project Page [BibTex]

code YouTube pdf suppmat DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Perception of Strength and Power of Realistic Male Characters
Perception of Strength and Power of Realistic Male Characters

Wellerdiek, A. C., Breidt, M., Geuss, M. N., Streuber, S., Kloos, U., Black, M. J., Mohler, B. J.

In Proc. ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Applied Perception, SAP’15, pages: 7-14, ACM, New York, NY, September 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We investigated the influence of body shape and pose on the perception of physical strength and social power for male virtual characters. In the first experiment, participants judged the physical strength of varying body shapes, derived from a statistical 3D body model. Based on these ratings, we determined three body shapes (weak, average, and strong) and animated them with a set of power poses for the second experiment. Participants rated how strong or powerful they perceived virtual characters of varying body shapes that were displayed in different poses. Our results show that perception of physical strength was mainly driven by the shape of the body. However, the social attribute of power was influenced by an interaction between pose and shape. Specifically, the effect of pose on power ratings was greater for weak body shapes. These results demonstrate that a character with a weak shape can be perceived as more powerful when in a high-power pose.

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PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]


3D-printed Soft Microrobot for Swimming in Biological Fluids
3D-printed Soft Microrobot for Swimming in Biological Fluids

Qiu, T., Palagi, S., Fischer, P.

In Conf. Proc. IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Soc., pages: 4922-4925, August 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Microscopic artificial swimmers hold the potential to enable novel non-invasive medical procedures. In order to ease their translation towards real biomedical applications, simpler designs as well as cheaper yet more reliable materials and fabrication processes should be adopted, provided that the functionality of the microrobots can be kept. A simple single-hinge design could already enable microswimming in non-Newtonian fluids, which most bodily fluids are. Here, we address the fabrication of such single-hinge microrobots with a 3D-printed soft material. Firstly, a finite element model is developed to investigate the deformability of the 3D-printed microstructure under typical values of the actuating magnetic fields. Then the microstructures are fabricated by direct 3D-printing of a soft material and their swimming performances are evaluated. The speeds achieved with the 3D-printed microrobots are comparable to those obtained in previous work with complex fabrication procedures, thus showing great promise for 3D-printed microrobots to be operated in biological fluids.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


The Informed Sampler: A Discriminative Approach to Bayesian Inference in Generative Computer Vision Models
The Informed Sampler: A Discriminative Approach to Bayesian Inference in Generative Computer Vision Models

Jampani, V., Nowozin, S., Loper, M., Gehler, P. V.

In Special Issue on Generative Models in Computer Vision and Medical Imaging, 136, pages: 32-44, Elsevier, July 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Computer vision is hard because of a large variability in lighting, shape, and texture; in addition the image signal is non-additive due to occlusion. Generative models promised to account for this variability by accurately modelling the image formation process as a function of latent variables with prior beliefs. Bayesian posterior inference could then, in principle, explain the observation. While intuitively appealing, generative models for computer vision have largely failed to deliver on that promise due to the difficulty of posterior inference. As a result the community has favored efficient discriminative approaches. We still believe in the usefulness of generative models in computer vision, but argue that we need to leverage existing discriminative or even heuristic computer vision methods. We implement this idea in a principled way in our informed sampler and in careful experiments demonstrate it on challenging models which contain renderer programs as their components. The informed sampler, using simple discriminative proposals based on existing computer vision technology achieves dramatic improvements in inference. Our approach enables a new richness in generative models that was out of reach with existing inference technology.

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arXiv-preprint pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

arXiv-preprint pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Direct Loss Minimization Inverse Optimal Control
Direct Loss Minimization Inverse Optimal Control

Doerr, A., Ratliff, N., Bohg, J., Toussaint, M., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems, Rome, Italy, Robotics: Science and Systems XI, July 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Inverse Optimal Control (IOC) has strongly impacted the systems engineering process, enabling automated planner tuning through straightforward and intuitive demonstration. The most successful and established applications, though, have been in lower dimensional problems such as navigation planning where exact optimal planning or control is feasible. In higher dimensional systems, such as humanoid robots, research has made substantial progress toward generalizing the ideas to model free or locally optimal settings, but these systems are complicated to the point where demonstration itself can be difficult. Typically, real-world applications are restricted to at best noisy or even partial or incomplete demonstrations that prove cumbersome in existing frameworks. This work derives a very flexible method of IOC based on a form of Structured Prediction known as Direct Loss Minimization. The resulting algorithm is essentially Policy Search on a reward function that rewards similarity to demonstrated behavior (using Covariance Matrix Adaptation (CMA) in our experiments). Our framework blurs the distinction between IOC, other forms of Imitation Learning, and Reinforcement Learning, enabling us to derive simple, versatile, and practical algorithms that blend imitation and reinforcement signals into a unified framework. Our experiments analyze various aspects of its performance and demonstrate its efficacy on conveying preferences for motion shaping and combined reach and grasp quality optimization.

am ics

PDF Video Project Page [BibTex]

PDF Video Project Page [BibTex]


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LMI-Based Synthesis for Distributed Event-Based State Estimation

Muehlebach, M., Trimpe, S.

In Proceedings of the American Control Conference, July 2015 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper presents an LMI-based synthesis procedure for distributed event-based state estimation. Multiple agents observe and control a dynamic process by sporadically exchanging data over a broadcast network according to an event-based protocol. In previous work [1], the synthesis of event-based state estimators is based on a centralized design. In that case three different types of communication are required: event-based communication of measurements, periodic reset of all estimates to their joint average, and communication of inputs. The proposed synthesis problem eliminates the communication of inputs as well as the periodic resets (under favorable circumstances) by accounting explicitly for the distributed structure of the control system.

am ics

PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Guaranteed H2 Performance in Distributed Event-Based State Estimation

Muehlebach, M., Trimpe, S.

In Proceeding of the First International Conference on Event-based Control, Communication, and Signal Processing, June 2015 (inproceedings)

am ics

PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF DOI Project Page [BibTex]