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  • Journal article
    Zhang F, Demiris Y, 2022,

    Learning garment manipulation policies toward robot-assisted dressing.

    , Science Robotics, Vol: 7, Pages: eabm6010-eabm6010, ISSN: 2470-9476

    Assistive robots have the potential to support people with disabilities in a variety of activities of daily living, such as dressing. People who have completely lost their upper limb movement functionality may benefit from robot-assisted dressing, which involves complex deformable garment manipulation. Here, we report a dressing pipeline intended for these people and experimentally validate it on a medical training manikin. The pipeline is composed of the robot grasping a hospital gown hung on a rail, fully unfolding the gown, navigating around a bed, and lifting up the user's arms in sequence to finally dress the user. To automate this pipeline, we address two fundamental challenges: first, learning manipulation policies to bring the garment from an uncertain state into a configuration that facilitates robust dressing; second, transferring the deformable object manipulation policies learned in simulation to real world to leverage cost-effective data generation. We tackle the first challenge by proposing an active pre-grasp manipulation approach that learns to isolate the garment grasping area before grasping. The approach combines prehensile and nonprehensile actions and thus alleviates grasping-only behavioral uncertainties. For the second challenge, we bridge the sim-to-real gap of deformable object policy transfer by approximating the simulator to real-world garment physics. A contrastive neural network is introduced to compare pairs of real and simulated garment observations, measure their physical similarity, and account for simulator parameters inaccuracies. The proposed method enables a dual-arm robot to put back-opening hospital gowns onto a medical manikin with a success rate of more than 90%.

  • Journal article
    Fischer T, Demiris Y, 2020,

    Computational modelling of embodied visual perspective-taking

    , IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, Vol: 12, Pages: 723-732, ISSN: 2379-8920

    Humans are inherently social beings that benefit from their perceptional capability to embody another point of view, typically referred to as perspective-taking. Perspective-taking is an essential feature in our daily interactions and is pivotal for human development. However, much remains unknown about the precise mechanisms that underlie perspective-taking. Here we show that formalizing perspective-taking in a computational model can detail the embodied mechanisms employed by humans in perspective-taking. The model's main building block is a set of action primitives that are passed through a forward model. The model employs a process that selects a subset of action primitives to be passed through the forward model to reduce the response time. The model demonstrates results that mimic those captured by human data, including (i) response times differences caused by the angular disparity between the perspective-taker and the other agent, (ii) the impact of task-irrelevant body posture variations in perspective-taking, and (iii) differences in the perspective-taking strategy between individuals. Our results provide support for the hypothesis that perspective-taking is a mental simulation of the physical movements that are required to match another person's visual viewpoint. Furthermore, the model provides several testable predictions, including the prediction that forced early responses lead to an egocentric bias and that a selection process introduces dependencies between two consecutive trials. Our results indicate potential links between perspective-taking and other essential perceptional and cognitive mechanisms, such as active vision and autobiographical memories.

  • Conference paper
    Zhang F, Demiris Y, 2020,

    Learning grasping points for garment manipulation in robot-assisted dressing

    , 2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 9114-9120

    Assistive robots have the potential to provide tremendous support for disabled and elderly people in their daily dressing activities. Recent studies on robot-assisted dressing usually simplify the setup of the initial robot configuration by manually attaching the garments on the robot end-effector and positioning them close to the user's arm. A fundamental challenge in automating such a process for robots is computing suitable grasping points on garments that facilitate robotic manipulation. In this paper, we address this problem by introducing a supervised deep neural network to locate a predefined grasping point on the garment, using depth images for their invariance to color and texture. To reduce the amount of real data required, which is costly to collect, we leverage the power of simulation to produce large amounts of labeled data. The network is jointly trained with synthetic datasets of depth images and a limited amount of real data. We introduce a robot-assisted dressing system that combines the grasping point prediction method, with a grasping and manipulation strategy which takes grasping orientation computation and robot-garment collision avoidance into account. The experimental results demonstrate that our method is capable of yielding accurate grasping point estimations. The proposed dressing system enables the Baxter robot to autonomously grasp a hospital gown hung on a rail, bring it close to the user and successfully dress the upper-body.

  • Journal article
    Gao Y, Chang HJ, Demiris Y, 2020,

    User modelling using multimodal information for personalised dressing assistance

    , IEEE Access, Vol: 8, Pages: 45700-45714, ISSN: 2169-3536
  • Journal article
    Zambelli M, Cully A, Demiris Y, 2020,

    Multimodal representation models for prediction and control from partial information

    , Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Vol: 123, ISSN: 0921-8890

    Similar to humans, robots benefit from interacting with their environment through a number of different sensor modalities, such as vision, touch, sound. However, learning from different sensor modalities is difficult, because the learning model must be able to handle diverse types of signals, and learn a coherent representation even when parts of the sensor inputs are missing. In this paper, a multimodal variational autoencoder is proposed to enable an iCub humanoid robot to learn representations of its sensorimotor capabilities from different sensor modalities. The proposed model is able to (1) reconstruct missing sensory modalities, (2) predict the sensorimotor state of self and the visual trajectories of other agents actions, and (3) control the agent to imitate an observed visual trajectory. Also, the proposed multimodal variational autoencoder can capture the kinematic redundancy of the robot motion through the learned probability distribution. Training multimodal models is not trivial due to the combinatorial complexity given by the possibility of missing modalities. We propose a strategy to train multimodal models, which successfully achieves improved performance of different reconstruction models. Finally, extensive experiments have been carried out using an iCub humanoid robot, showing high performance in multiple reconstruction, prediction and imitation tasks.

  • Conference paper
    Buizza C, Fischer T, Demiris Y, 2020,

    Real-time multi-person pose tracking using data assimilation

    , IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision, Publisher: IEEE

    We propose a framework for the integration of data assimilation and machine learning methods in human pose estimation, with the aim of enabling any pose estimation method to be run in real-time, whilst also increasing consistency and accuracy. Data assimilation and machine learning are complementary methods: the former allows us to make use of information about the underlying dynamics of a system but lacks the flexibility of a data-based model, which we can instead obtain with the latter. Our framework presents a real-time tracking module for any single or multi-person pose estimation system. Specifically, tracking is performed by a number of Kalman filters initiated for each new person appearing in a motion sequence. This permits tracking of multiple skeletons and reduces the frequency that computationally expensive pose estimation has to be run, enabling online pose tracking. The module tracks for N frames while the pose estimates are calculated for frame (N+1). This also results in increased consistency of person identification and reduced inaccuracies due to missing joint locations and inversion of left-and right-side joints.

  • Conference paper
    Cortacero K, Fischer T, Demiris Y, 2019,

    RT-BENE: A Dataset and Baselines for Real-Time Blink Estimation in Natural Environments

    , IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision Workshops, Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.

    In recent years gaze estimation methods have made substantial progress, driven by the numerous application areas including human-robot interaction, visual attention estimation and foveated rendering for virtual reality headsets. However, many gaze estimation methods typically assume that the subject's eyes are open; for closed eyes, these methods provide irregular gaze estimates. Here, we address this assumption by first introducing a new open-sourced dataset with annotations of the eye-openness of more than 200,000 eye images, including more than 10,000 images where the eyes are closed. We further present baseline methods that allow for blink detection using convolutional neural networks. In extensive experiments, we show that the proposed baselines perform favourably in terms of precision and recall. We further incorporate our proposed RT-BENE baselines in the recently presented RT-GENE gaze estimation framework where it provides a real-time inference of the openness of the eyes. We argue that our work will benefit both gaze estimation and blink estimation methods, and we take steps towards unifying these methods.

  • Journal article
    Zhang F, Cully A, Demiris Y, 2019,

    Probabilistic real-time user posture tracking for personalized robot-assisted dressing

    , IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Vol: 35, Pages: 873-888, ISSN: 1552-3098

    Robotic solutions to dressing assistance have the potential to provide tremendous support for elderly and disabled people. However, unexpected user movements may lead to dressing failures or even pose a risk to the user. Tracking such user movements with vision sensors is challenging due to severe visual occlusions created by the robot and clothes. In this paper, we propose a probabilistic tracking method using Bayesian networks in latent spaces, which fuses robot end-effector positions and force information to enable cameraless and real-time estimation of the user postures during dressing. The latent spaces are created before dressing by modeling the user movements with a Gaussian process latent variable model, taking the user’s movement limitations into account. We introduce a robot-assisted dressing system that combines our tracking method with hierarchical multitask control to minimize the force between the user and the robot. The experimental results demonstrate the robustness and accuracy of our tracking method. The proposed method enables the Baxter robot to provide personalized dressing assistance in putting on a sleeveless jacket for users with (simulated) upper-body impairments.

  • Conference paper
    Kristan M, Leonardis A, Matas J, Felsberg M, Pflugfelder R, Zajc LČ, Vojír T, Bhat G, Lukežič A, Eldesokey A, Fernández G, García-Martín Á, Iglesias-Arias Á, Alatan AA, González-García A, Petrosino A, Memarmoghadam A, Vedaldi A, Muhič A, He A, Smeulders A, Perera AG, Li B, Chen B, Kim C, Xu C, Xiong C, Tian C, Luo C, Sun C, Hao C, Kim D, Mishra D, Chen D, Wang D, Wee D, Gavves E, Gundogdu E, Velasco-Salido E, Khan FS, Yang F, Zhao F, Li F, Battistone F, De Ath G, Subrahmanyam GRKS, Bastos G, Ling H, Galoogahi HK, Lee H, Li H, Zhao H, Fan H, Zhang H, Possegger H, Li H, Lu H, Zhi H, Li H, Lee H, Chang HJ, Drummond I, Valmadre J, Martin JS, Chahl J, Choi JY, Li J, Wang J, Qi J, Sung J, Johnander J, Henriques J, Choi J, van de Weijer J, Herranz JR, Martínez JM, Kittler J, Zhuang J, Gao J, Grm K, Zhang L, Wang L, Yang L, Rout L, Si L, Bertinetto L, Chu L, Che M, Maresca ME, Danelljan M, Yang MH, Abdelpakey M, Shehata M, Kang Met al., 2019,

    The sixth visual object tracking VOT2018 challenge results

    , European Conference on Computer Vision, Publisher: Springer, Pages: 3-53, ISSN: 0302-9743

    The Visual Object Tracking challenge VOT2018 is the sixth annual tracker benchmarking activity organized by the VOT initiative. Results of over eighty trackers are presented; many are state-of-the-art trackers published at major computer vision conferences or in journals in the recent years. The evaluation included the standard VOT and other popular methodologies for short-term tracking analysis and a “real-time” experiment simulating a situation where a tracker processes images as if provided by a continuously running sensor. A long-term tracking subchallenge has been introduced to the set of standard VOT sub-challenges. The new subchallenge focuses on long-term tracking properties, namely coping with target disappearance and reappearance. A new dataset has been compiled and a performance evaluation methodology that focuses on long-term tracking capabilities has been adopted. The VOT toolkit has been updated to support both standard short-term and the new long-term tracking subchallenges. Performance of the tested trackers typically by far exceeds standard baselines. The source code for most of the trackers is publicly available from the VOT page. The dataset, the evaluation kit and the results are publicly available at the challenge website (

  • Conference paper
    Zolotas M, Elsdon J, Demiris Y, 2019,

    Head-mounted augmented reality for explainable robotic wheelchair assistance

    , IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2153-0866

    Robotic wheelchairs with built-in assistive fea-tures, such as shared control, are an emerging means ofproviding independent mobility to severely disabled individuals.However, patients often struggle to build a mental model oftheir wheelchair’s behaviour under different environmentalconditions. Motivated by the desire to help users bridge thisgap in perception, we propose a novel augmented realitysystem using a Microsoft Hololens as a head-mounted aid forwheelchair navigation. The system displays visual feedback tothe wearer as a way of explaining the underlying dynamicsof the wheelchair’s shared controller and its predicted futurestates. To investigate the influence of different interface designoptions, a pilot study was also conducted. We evaluated theacceptance rate and learning curve of an immersive wheelchairtraining regime, revealing preliminary insights into the potentialbeneficial and adverse nature of different augmented realitycues for assistive navigation. In particular, we demonstrate thatcare should be taken in the presentation of information, witheffort-reducing cues for augmented information acquisition (forexample, a rear-view display) being the most appreciated.

  • Conference paper
    Choi J, Chang HJ, Fischer T, Yun S, Lee K, Jeong J, Demiris Y, Choi JYet al., 2018,

    Context-aware deep feature compression for high-speed visual tracking

    , IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Pages: 479-488, ISSN: 1063-6919

    We propose a new context-aware correlation filter based tracking framework to achieve both high computational speed and state-of-the-art performance among real-time trackers. The major contribution to the high computational speed lies in the proposed deep feature compression that is achieved by a context-aware scheme utilizing multiple expert auto-encoders; a context in our framework refers to the coarse category of the tracking target according to appearance patterns. In the pre-training phase, one expert auto-encoder is trained per category. In the tracking phase, the best expert auto-encoder is selected for a given target, and only this auto-encoder is used. To achieve high tracking performance with the compressed feature map, we introduce extrinsic denoising processes and a new orthogonality loss term for pre-training and fine-tuning of the expert auto-encoders. We validate the proposed context-aware framework through a number of experiments, where our method achieves a comparable performance to state-of-the-art trackers which cannot run in real-time, while running at a significantly fast speed of over 100 fps.

  • Journal article
    Chang HJ, Fischer T, Petit M, Zambelli M, Demiris Yet al., 2018,

    Learning kinematic structure correspondences using multi-order similarities

    , IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Vol: 40, Pages: 2920-2934, ISSN: 0162-8828

    We present a novel framework for finding the kinematic structure correspondences between two articulated objects in videos via hypergraph matching. In contrast to appearance and graph alignment based matching methods, which have been applied among two similar static images, the proposed method finds correspondences between two dynamic kinematic structures of heterogeneous objects in videos. Thus our method allows matching the structure of objects which have similar topologies or motions, or a combination of the two. Our main contributions are summarised as follows: (i)casting the kinematic structure correspondence problem into a hypergraph matching problem by incorporating multi-order similarities with normalising weights, (ii)introducing a structural topology similarity measure by aggregating topology constrained subgraph isomorphisms, (iii)measuring kinematic correlations between pairwise nodes, and (iv)proposing a combinatorial local motion similarity measure using geodesic distance on the Riemannian manifold. We demonstrate the robustness and accuracy of our method through a number of experiments on synthetic and real data, showing that various other recent and state of the art methods are outperformed. Our method is not limited to a specific application nor sensor, and can be used as building block in applications such as action recognition, human motion retargeting to robots, and articulated object manipulation.

  • Journal article
    Moulin-Frier C, Fischer T, Petit M, Pointeau G, Puigbo JY, Pattacini U, Low SC, Camilleri D, Nguyen P, Hoffmann M, Chang HJ, Zambelli M, Mealier AL, Damianou A, Metta G, Prescott TJ, Demiris Y, Dominey PF, Verschure PFMJet al., 2018,

    DAC-h3: A Proactive Robot Cognitive Architecture to Acquire and Express Knowledge About the World and the Self

    , IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, Vol: 10, Pages: 1005-1022, ISSN: 2379-8920

    This paper introduces a cognitive architecture for a humanoid robot to engage in a proactive, mixed-initiative exploration and manipulation of its environment, where the initiative can originate from both the human and the robot. The framework, based on a biologically-grounded theory of the brain and mind, integrates a reactive interaction engine, a number of state-of-the art perceptual and motor learning algorithms, as well as planning abilities and an autobiographical memory. The architecture as a whole drives the robot behavior to solve the symbol grounding problem, acquire language capabilities, execute goal-oriented behavior, and express a verbal narrative of its own experience in the world. We validate our approach in human-robot interaction experiments with the iCub humanoid robot, showing that the proposed cognitive architecture can be applied in real time within a realistic scenario and that it can be used with naive users.

  • Conference paper
    Fischer T, Chang HJ, Demiris Y, 2018,

    RT-GENE: Real-time eye gaze estimation in natural environments

    , European Conference on Computer Vision, Publisher: Springer Verlag, Pages: 339-357, ISSN: 0302-9743

    In this work, we consider the problem of robust gaze estimation in natural environments. Large camera-to-subject distances and high variations in head pose and eye gaze angles are common in such environments. This leads to two main shortfalls in state-of-the-art methods for gaze estimation: hindered ground truth gaze annotation and diminished gaze estimation accuracy as image resolution decreases with distance. We first record a novel dataset of varied gaze and head pose images in a natural environment, addressing the issue of ground truth annotation by measuring head pose using a motion capture system and eye gaze using mobile eyetracking glasses. We apply semantic image inpainting to the area covered by the glasses to bridge the gap between training and testing images by removing the obtrusiveness of the glasses. We also present a new real-time algorithm involving appearance-based deep convolutional neural networks with increased capacity to cope with the diverse images in the new dataset. Experiments with this network architecture are conducted on a number of diverse eye-gaze datasets including our own, and in cross dataset evaluations. We demonstrate state-of-the-art performance in terms of estimation accuracy in all experiments, and the architecture performs well even on lower resolution images.

  • Conference paper
    Nguyen P, Fischer T, Chang HJ, Pattacini U, Metta G, Demiris Yet al., 2018,

    Transferring visuomotor learning from simulation to the real world for robotics manipulation tasks

    , IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 6667-6674, ISSN: 2153-0866

    Hand-eye coordination is a requirement for many manipulation tasks including grasping and reaching. However, accurate hand-eye coordination has shown to be especially difficult to achieve in complex robots like the iCub humanoid. In this work, we solve the hand-eye coordination task using a visuomotor deep neural network predictor that estimates the arm's joint configuration given a stereo image pair of the arm and the underlying head configuration. As there are various unavoidable sources of sensing error on the physical robot, we train the predictor on images obtained from simulation. The images from simulation were modified to look realistic using an image-to-image translation approach. In various experiments, we first show that the visuomotor predictor provides accurate joint estimates of the iCub's hand in simulation. We then show that the predictor can be used to obtain the systematic error of the robot's joint measurements on the physical iCub robot. We demonstrate that a calibrator can be designed to automatically compensate this error. Finally, we validate that this enables accurate reaching of objects while circumventing manual fine-calibration of the robot.

  • Conference paper
    Chacon Quesada R, Demiris Y, 2018,

    Augmented reality control of smart wheelchair using eye-gaze–enabled selection of affordances

    ,, IROS 2018 Workshop on Robots for Assisted Living

    In this paper we present a novel augmented reality head mounted display user interface for controlling a robotic wheelchair for people with limited mobility. To lower the cognitive requirements needed to control the wheelchair, we propose integration of a smart wheelchair with an eye-tracking enabled head-mounted display. We propose a novel platform that integrates multiple user interface interaction methods for aiming at and selecting affordances derived by on-board perception capabilities such as laser-scanner readings and cameras. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach by evaluating our platform in two realistic scenarios: 1) Door detection, where the affordance corresponds to a Door object and the Go-Through action and 2) People detection, where the affordance corresponds to a Person and the Approach action. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a augmented reality head-mounted display user interface for controlling a smart wheelchair.

  • Conference paper
    Fischer T, Demiris Y, 2018,

    A computational model for embodied visual perspective taking: from physical movements to mental simulation

    , Vision Meets Cognition Workshop at CVPR 2018

    To understand people and their intentions, humans have developed the ability to imagine their surroundings from another visual point of view. This cognitive ability is called perspective taking and has been shown to be essential in child development and social interactions. However, the precise cognitive mechanisms underlying perspective taking remain to be fully understood. Here we present a computa- tional model that implements perspective taking as a mental simulation of the physical movements required to step into the other point of view. The visual percept after each mental simulation step is estimated using a set of forward models. Based on our experimental results, we propose that a visual attention mechanism explains the response times reported in human visual perspective taking experiments. The model is also able to generate several testable predictions to be explored in further neurophysiological studies.

  • Conference paper
    Elsdon J, Demiris Y, 2018,

    Augmented reality for feedback in a shared control spraying task

    , IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Pages: 1939-1946, ISSN: 1050-4729

    Using industrial robots to spray structures has been investigated extensively, however interesting challenges emerge when using handheld spraying robots. In previous work we have demonstrated the use of shared control of a handheld spraying robot to assist a user in a 3D spraying task. In this paper we demonstrate the use of Augmented Reality Interfaces to increase the user's progress and task awareness. We describe our solutions to challenging calibration issues between the Microsoft Hololens system and a motion capture system without the need for well defined markers or careful alignment on the part of the user. Error relative to the motion capture system was shown to be 10mm after only a 4 second calibration routine. Secondly we outline a logical approach for visualising liquid density for an augmented reality spraying task, this system allows the user to see target regions to complete, areas that are complete and areas that have been overdosed clearly. Finally we produced a user study to investigate the level of assistance that a handheld robot utilising shared control methods should provide during a spraying task. Using a handheld spraying robot with a moving spray head did not aid the user much over simply actuating spray nozzle for them. Compared to manual control the automatic modes significantly reduced the task load experienced by the user and significantly increased the quality of the result of the spraying task, reducing the error by 33-45%.

  • Journal article
    Cully AHR, Demiris Y, 2018,

    Quality and diversity optimization: a unifying modular framework

    , IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, Vol: 22, Pages: 245-259, ISSN: 1941-0026

    The optimization of functions to find the best solution according to one or several objectives has a central role in many engineering and research fields. Recently, a new family of optimization algorithms, named Quality-Diversity optimization, has been introduced, and contrasts with classic algorithms. Instead of searching for a single solution, Quality-Diversity algorithms are searching for a large collection of both diverse and high-performing solutions. The role of this collection is to cover the range of possible solution types as much as possible, and to contain the best solution for each type. The contribution of this paper is threefold. Firstly, we present a unifying framework of Quality-Diversity optimization algorithms that covers the two main algorithms of this family (Multi-dimensional Archive of Phenotypic Elites and the Novelty Search with Local Competition), and that highlights the large variety of variants that can be investigated within this family. Secondly, we propose algorithms with a new selection mechanism for Quality-Diversity algorithms that outperforms all the algorithms tested in this paper. Lastly, we present a new collection management that overcomes the erosion issues observed when using unstructured collections. These three contributions are supported by extensive experimental comparisons of Quality-Diversity algorithms on three different experimental scenarios.

  • Journal article
    Fischer T, Puigbo J-Y, Camilleri D, Nguyen PDH, Moulin-Frier C, Lallee S, Metta G, Prescott TJ, Demiris Y, Verschure Pet al., 2018,

    iCub-HRI: A software framework for complex human-robot interaction scenarios on the iCub humanoid robot

    , Frontiers in Robotics and AI, Vol: 5, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2296-9144

    Generating complex, human-like behaviour in a humanoid robot like the iCub requires the integration of a wide range of open source components and a scalable cognitive architecture. Hence, we present the iCub-HRI library which provides convenience wrappers for components related to perception (object recognition, agent tracking, speech recognition, touch detection), object manipulation (basic and complex motor actions) and social interaction (speech synthesis, joint attention) exposed as a C++ library with bindings for Java (allowing to use iCub-HRI within Matlab) and Python. In addition to previously integrated components, the library allows for simple extension to new components and rapid prototyping by adapting to changes in interfaces between components. We also provide a set of modules which make use of the library, such as a high-level knowledge acquisition module and an action recognition module. The proposed architecture has been successfully employed for a complex human-robot interaction scenario involving the acquisition of language capabilities, execution of goal-oriented behaviour and expression of a verbal narrative of the robot's experience in the world. Accompanying this paper is a tutorial which allows a subset of this interaction to be reproduced. The architecture is aimed at researchers familiarising themselves with the iCub ecosystem, as well as expert users, and we expect the library to be widely used in the iCub community.

  • Conference paper
    Zhang F, Cully A, Demiris YIANNIS, 2017,

    Personalized Robot-assisted Dressing using User Modeling in Latent Spaces

    , 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2153-0866

    Robots have the potential to provide tremendous support to disabled and elderly people in their everyday tasks, such as dressing. Many recent studies on robotic dressing assistance usually view dressing as a trajectory planning problem. However, the user movements during the dressing process are rarely taken into account, which often leads to the failures of the planned trajectory and may put the user at risk. The main difficulty of taking user movements into account is caused by severe occlusions created by the robot, the user, and the clothes during the dressing process, which prevent vision sensors from accurately detecting the postures of the user in real time. In this paper, we address this problem by introducing an approach that allows the robot to automatically adapt its motion according to the force applied on the robot's gripper caused by user movements. There are two main contributions introduced in this paper: 1) the use of a hierarchical multi-task control strategy to automatically adapt the robot motion and minimize the force applied between the user and the robot caused by user movements; 2) the online update of the dressing trajectory based on the user movement limitations modeled with the Gaussian Process Latent Variable Model in a latent space, and the density information extracted from such latent space. The combination of these two contributions leads to a personalized dressing assistance that can cope with unpredicted user movements during the dressing while constantly minimizing the force that the robot may apply on the user. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method allows the Baxter humanoid robot to provide personalized dressing assistance for human users with simulated upper-body impairments.

  • Conference paper
    Choi J, Chang HJ, Yun S, Fischer T, Demiris Y, Choi JYet al., 2017,

    Attentional correlation filter network for adaptive visual tracking

    , IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 1063-6919

    We propose a new tracking framework with an attentional mechanism that chooses a subset of the associated correlation filters for increased robustness and computational efficiency. The subset of filters is adaptively selected by a deep attentional network according to the dynamic properties of the tracking target. Our contributions are manifold, and are summarised as follows: (i) Introducing the Attentional Correlation Filter Network which allows adaptive tracking of dynamic targets. (ii) Utilising an attentional network which shifts the attention to the best candidate modules, as well as predicting the estimated accuracy of currently inactive modules. (iii) Enlarging the variety of correlation filters which cover target drift, blurriness, occlusion, scale changes, and flexible aspect ratio. (iv) Validating the robustness and efficiency of the attentional mechanism for visual tracking through a number of experiments. Our method achieves similar performance to non real-time trackers, and state-of-the-art performance amongst real-time trackers.

  • Conference paper
    Yoo YJ, Chang H, Yun S, Demiris Y, Choi JYet al., 2017,

    Variational autoencoded regression: high dimensional regression of visual data on complex manifold

    , IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 2943-2952

    This paper proposes a new high dimensional regression method by merging Gaussian process regression into a variational autoencoder framework. In contrast to other regression methods, the proposed method focuses on the case where output responses are on a complex high dimensional manifold, such as images. Our contributions are summarized as follows: (i) A new regression method estimating high dimensional image responses, which is not handled by existing regression algorithms, is proposed. (ii) The proposed regression method introduces a strategy to learn the latent space as well as the encoder and decoder so that the result of the regressed response in the latent space coincide with the corresponding response in the data space. (iii) The proposed regression is embedded into a generative model, and the whole procedure is developed by the variational autoencoder framework. We demonstrate the robustness and effectiveness of our method through a number of experiments on various visual data regression problems.

  • Journal article
    Chang HJ, Demiris Y, 2017,

    Highly articulated kinematic structure estimation combining motion and skeleton information

    , IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, Vol: 40, Pages: 2165-2179, ISSN: 0162-8828

    In this paper, we present a novel framework for unsupervised kinematic structure learning of complex articulated objects from a single-view 2D image sequence. In contrast to prior motion-based methods, which estimate relatively simple articulations, our method can generate arbitrarily complex kinematic structures with skeletal topology via a successive iterative merging strategy. The iterative merge process is guided by a density weighted skeleton map which is generated from a novel object boundary generation method from sparse 2D feature points. Our main contributions can be summarised as follows: (i) An unsupervised complex articulated kinematic structure estimation method that combines motion segments with skeleton information. (ii) An iterative fine-to-coarse merging strategy for adaptive motion segmentation and structural topology embedding. (iii) A skeleton estimation method based on a novel silhouette boundary generation from sparse feature points using an adaptive model selection method. (iv) A new highly articulated object dataset with ground truth annotation. We have verified the effectiveness of our proposed method in terms of computational time and estimation accuracy through rigorous experiments. Our experiments show that the proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art methods both quantitatively and qualitatively.

  • Conference paper
    Elsdon J, Demiris Y, 2017,

    Assisted painting of 3D structures using shared control with a hand-held robot

    , IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 4891-4897

    Abstract— We present a shared control method of painting3D geometries, using a handheld robot which has a singleautonomously controlled degree of freedom. The user scansthe robot near to the desired painting location, the singlemovement axis moves the spray head to achieve the requiredpaint distribution. A simultaneous simulation of the sprayingprocedure is performed, giving an open loop approximationof the current state of the painting. An online prediction ofthe best path for the spray nozzle actuation is calculated ina receding horizon fashion. This is calculated by producing amap of the paint required in the 2D space defined by nozzleposition on the gantry and the time into the future. A directedgraph then extracts its edge weights from this paint density mapand Dijkstra’s algorithm is then used to find the candidate forthe most effective path. Due to the heavy parallelisation of thisapproach and the majority of the calculations taking place on aGPU we can run the prediction loop in 32.6ms for a predictionhorizon of 1 second, this approach is computationally efficient,outperforming a greedy algorithm. The path chosen by theproposed method on average chooses a path in the top 15%of all paths as calculated by exhaustive testing. This approachenables development of real time path planning for assistedspray painting onto complicated 3D geometries. This methodcould be applied to applications such as assistive painting forpeople with disabilities, or accurate placement of liquid whenlarge scale positioning of the head is too expensive.

  • Journal article
    Georgiou T, Demiris Y, 2017,

    Adaptive user modelling in car racing games using behavioural and physiological data

    , User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, Vol: 27, Pages: 267-311, ISSN: 1573-1391

    Personalised content adaptation has great potential to increase user engagement in video games. Procedural generation of user-tailored content increases the self-motivation of players as they immerse themselves in the virtual world. An adaptive user model is needed to capture the skills of the player and enable automatic game content altering algorithms to fit the individual user. We propose an adaptive user modelling approach using a combination of unobtrusive physiological data to identify strengths and weaknesses in user performance in car racing games. Our system creates user-tailored tracks to improve driving habits and user experience, and to keep engagement at high levels. The user modelling approach adopts concepts from the Trace Theory framework; it uses machine learning to extract features from the user’s physiological data and game-related actions, and cluster them into low level primitives. These primitives are transformed and evaluated into higher level abstractions such as experience, exploration and attention. These abstractions are subsequently used to provide track alteration decisions for the player. Collection of data and feedback from 52 users allowed us to associate key model variables and outcomes to user responses, and to verify that the model provides statistically significant decisions personalised to the individual player. Tailored game content variations between users in our experiments, as well as the correlations with user satisfaction demonstrate that our algorithm is able to automatically incorporate user feedback in subsequent procedural content generation.

  • Conference paper
    Georgiou T, Demiris Y, 2017,

    Personalised Track Design in Car Racing Games

    , Computational Intelligence and Games, Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2325-4289

    Real-time adaptation of computer games’ content tothe users’ skills and abilities can enhance the player’s engagementand immersion. Understanding of the user’s potential whileplaying is of high importance in order to allow the successfulprocedural generation of user-tailored content. We investigatehow player models can be created in car racing games. Our usermodel uses a combination of data from unobtrusive sensors, whilethe user is playing a car racing simulator. It extracts featuresthrough machine learning techniques, which are then used tocomprehend the user’s gameplay, by utilising the educationaltheoretical frameworks of the Concept of Flow and Zone ofProximal Development. The end result is to provide at a nextstage a new track that fits to the user needs, which aids boththe training of the driver and their engagement in the game.In order to validate that the system is designing personalisedtracks, we associated the average performance from 41 usersthat played the game, with the difficulty factor of the generatedtrack. In addition, the variation in paths of the implementedtracks between users provides a good indicator for the suitabilityof the system.

  • Journal article
    Korkinof D, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Multi-task and multi-kernel gaussian process dynamical systems

    , Pattern Recognition, Vol: 66, Pages: 190-201, ISSN: 1873-5142

    In this work, we propose a novel method for rectifying damaged motion sequences in an unsupervised manner. In order to achieve maximal accuracy, the proposed model takes advantage of three key properties of the data: their sequential nature, the redundancy that manifests itself among repetitions of the same task, and the potential of knowledge transfer across different tasks. In order to do so, we formulate a factor model consisting of Gaussian Process Dynamical Systems (GPDS), where each factor corresponds to a single basic pattern in time and is able to represent their sequential nature. Factors collectively form a dictionary of fundamental trajectories shared among all sequences, thus able to capture recurrent patterns within the same or across different tasks. We employ variational inference to learn directly from incomplete sequences and perform maximum a-posteriori (MAP) estimates of the missing values. We have evaluated our model with a number of motion datasets, including robotic and human motion capture data. We have compared our approach to well-established methods in the literature in terms of their reconstruction error and our results indicate significant accuracy improvement across different datasets and missing data ratios. Concluding, we investigate the performance benefits of the multi-task learning scenario and how this improvement relates to the extent of component sharing that takes place.

  • Conference paper
    Chang HJ, Fischer T, Petit M, Zambelli M, Demiris Yet al., 2016,

    Kinematic structure correspondences via hypergraph matching

    , 2016 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 4216-4225, ISSN: 1063-6919

    In this paper, we present a novel framework for finding the kinematic structure correspondence between two objects in videos via hypergraph matching. In contrast to prior appearance and graph alignment based matching methods which have been applied among two similar static images, the proposed method finds correspondences between two dynamic kinematic structures of heterogeneous objects in videos. Our main contributions can be summarised as follows: (i) casting the kinematic structure correspondence problem into a hypergraph matching problem, incorporating multi-order similarities with normalising weights, (ii) a structural topology similarity measure by a new topology constrained subgraph isomorphism aggregation, (iii) a kinematic correlation measure between pairwise nodes, and (iv) a combinatorial local motion similarity measure using geodesic distance on the Riemannian manifold. We demonstrate the robustness and accuracy of our method through a number of experiments on complex articulated synthetic and real data.

  • Conference paper
    Choi J, Chang H, Jeong J, Demiris Y, Choi JYet al., 2016,

    Visual tracking using attention-modulated disintegration and integration

    , IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 1063-6919

    In this paper, we present a novel attention-modulatedvisual tracking algorithm that decomposes an object intointo multiple cognitive units, and trains multiple elemen-tary trackers in order to modulate the distribution of at-tention according to various feature and kernel types. Inthe integration stage it recombines the units to memorizeand recognize the target object effectively. With respectto the elementary trackers, we present a novel attentionalfeature-based correlation filter (AtCF) that focuses on dis-tinctive attentional features. The effectiveness of the pro-posed algorithm is validated through experimental compar-ison with state-of-the-art methods on widely-used trackingbenchmark datasets.

  • Conference paper
    Gao Y, Chang HJ, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Iterative Path Optimisation for Personalised Dressing Assistance using Vision and Force Information

    , IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2153-0866

    We propose an online iterative path optimisationmethod to enable a Baxter humanoid robot to assist humanusers to dress. The robot searches for the optimal personaliseddressing path using vision and force sensor information: visioninformation is used to recognise the human pose and model themovement space of upper-body joints; force sensor informationis used for the robot to detect external force resistance andto locally adjust its motion. We propose a new stochastic pathoptimisation method based on adaptive moment estimation. Wefirst compare the proposed method with other path optimisationalgorithms on synthetic data. Experimental results show thatthe performance of the method achieves the smallest error withfewer iterations and less computation time. We also evaluatereal-world data by enabling the Baxter robot to assist realhuman users with their dressing.

  • Conference paper
    Zambelli M, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Multimodal Imitation using Self-learned Sensorimotor Representations

    , IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 2153-0866

    Although many tasks intrinsically involve multiplemodalities, often only data from a single modality are used toimprove complex robots acquisition of new skills. We presenta method to equip robots with multimodal learning skills toachieve multimodal imitation on-the-fly on multiple concurrenttask spaces, including vision, touch and proprioception, onlyusing self-learned multimodal sensorimotor relations, withoutthe need of solving inverse kinematic problems or explicit analyticalmodels formulation. We evaluate the proposed methodon a humanoid iCub robot learning to interact with a pianokeyboard and imitating a human demonstration. Since noassumptions are made on the kinematic structure of the robot,the method can be also applied to different robotic platforms.

  • Journal article
    Zambelli M, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Online multimodal ensemble learning using self-learned sensorimotor representations

    , IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, Vol: 9, Pages: 113-126, ISSN: 2379-8920

    Internal models play a key role in cognitive agentsby providing on the one hand predictions of sensory consequencesof motor commands (forward models), and on the other handinverse mappings (inverse models) to realise tasks involvingcontrol loops, such as imitation tasks. The ability to predictand generate new actions in continuously evolving environmentsintrinsically requiring the use of different sensory modalities isparticularly relevant for autonomous robots, which must alsobe able to adapt their models online. We present a learningarchitecture based on self-learned multimodal sensorimotor rep-resentations. To attain accurate forward models, we propose anonline heterogeneous ensemble learning method that allows usto improve the prediction accuracy by leveraging differences ofmultiple diverse predictors. We further propose a method tolearn inverse models on-the-fly to equip a robot with multimodallearning skills to perform imitation tasks using multiple sensorymodalities. We have evaluated the proposed methods on aniCub humanoid robot. Since no assumptions are made on therobot kinematic/dynamic structure, the method can be appliedto different robotic platforms.

  • Conference paper
    Petit M, Fischer T, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Towards the Emergence of Procedural Memories from Lifelong Multi-Modal Streaming Memories for Cognitive Robots

    , Workshop on Machine Learning Methods for High-Level Cognitive Capabilities in Robotics at IEEE/RSJ IROS

    Various research topics are emerging as the demand for intelligent lifelong interactions between robot and humans increases. Among them, we can find the examination of persistent storage, the continuous unsupervised annotation of memories and the usage of data at high-frequency over long periods of time. We recently proposed a lifelong autobiographical memory architecture tackling some of these challenges, allowing the iCub humanoid robot to 1) create new memories for both actions that are self-executed and observed from humans, 2) continuously annotate these actions in an unsupervised manner, and 3) use reasoning modules to augment these memories a-posteriori. In this paper, we present a reasoning algorithm which generalises the robots’ understanding of actions by finding the point of commonalities with the former ones. In particular, we generated and labelled templates of pointing actions in different directions. This represents a first step towards the emergence of a procedural memory within a long-term autobiographical memory framework for robots.

  • Conference paper
    Zambelli M, Fischer T, Petit M, Chang HJ, Cully A, Demiris Yet al., 2016,

    Towards Anchoring Self-Learned Representations to Those of Other Agents

    , Workshop on Bio-inspired Social Robot Learning in Home Scenarios IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

    In the future, robots will support humans in their every day activities. One particular challenge that robots will face is understanding and reasoning about the actions of other agents in order to cooperate effectively with humans. We propose to tackle this using a developmental framework, where the robot incrementally acquires knowledge, and in particular 1) self-learns a mapping between motor commands and sensory consequences, 2) rapidly acquires primitives and complex actions by verbal descriptions and instructions from a human partner, 3) discoverscorrespondences between the robots body and other articulated objects and agents, and 4) employs these correspondences to transfer the knowledge acquired from the robots point of view to the viewpoint of the other agent. We show that our approach requires very little a-priori knowledge to achieve imitation learning, to find correspondent body parts of humans, and allows taking the perspective of another agent. This represents a step towards the emergence of a mirror neuron like system based on self-learned representations.

  • Journal article
    Petit M, Fischer T, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Lifelong Augmentation of Multi-Modal Streaming Autobiographical Memories

    , IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, Vol: 8, Pages: 201-213, ISSN: 2379-8920

    Robot systems that interact with humans over extended periods of time will benefit from storing and recalling large amounts of accumulated sensorimotor and interaction data. We provide a principled framework for the cumulative organisation of streaming autobiographical data so that data can be continuously processed and augmented as the processing and reasoning abilities of the agent develop and further interactions with humans take place. As an example, we show how a kinematic structure learning algorithm reasons a-posteriori about the skeleton of a human hand. A partner can be asked to provide feedback about the augmented memories, which can in turn be supplied to the reasoning processes in order to adapt their parameters. We employ active, multi-modal remembering, so the robot as well as humans can gain insights of both the original and augmented memories. Our framework is capable of storing discrete and continuous data in real-time. The data can cover multiple modalities and several layers of abstraction (e.g. from raw sound signals over sentences to extracted meanings). We show a typical interaction with a human partner using an iCub humanoid robot. The framework is implemented in a platform-independent manner. In particular, we validate its multi platform capabilities using the iCub, Baxter and NAO robots. We also provide an interface to cloud based services, which allow automatic annotation of episodes. Our framework is geared towards the developmental robotics community, as it 1) provides a variety of interfaces for other modules, 2) unifies previous works on autobiographical memory, and 3) is licensed as open source software.

  • Conference paper
    Gao Y, Chang HJ, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Personalised assistive dressing by humanoid robots using multi-modal information

    , Workshop on Human-Robot Interfaces for Enhanced Physical Interactions at ICRA

    In this paper, we present an approach to enable a humanoid robot to provide personalised dressing assistance for human users using multi-modal information. A depth sensor is mounted on top of the robot to provide visual information, and the robot end effectors are equipped with force sensors to provide haptic information. We use visual information to model the movement range of human upper-body parts. The robot plans the dressing motions using the movement rangemodels and real-time human pose. During assistive dressing, the force sensors are used to detect external force resistances. We present how the robot locally adjusts its motions based on the detected forces. In the experiments we show that the robot can assist human to wear a sleeveless jacket while reacting tothe force resistances.

  • Conference paper
    Petit M, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Hierarchical action learning by instruction through interactive grounding of body parts and proto-actions

    , IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 3375-3382

    Learning by instruction allows humans programming a robot to achieve a task using spoken language, without the requirement of being able to do the task themselves, which can be problematic for users with motor impairments. We provide a developmental framework to program the humanoid robot iCub without any hand-coded a-priori knowledge about any motor skills. Inspired by child development theories, the system involves hierarchical learning, starting with the human verbally labelling robot body parts. The robot can then focus its attention on a precise body part during robot motor babbling, and link the on-the-fly spoken descriptions of proto-actions to angle values of a specific joint. The direct grounding of proto-actions is possible through the use of a linear model which calculates the effects on the joint of the proto-action and the body part used, allowing a generalisation of the proto-action if the joint has never been used before. Eventually, transferring the grounding is allowed via learning by instructions where humans can combine the newly acquired proto-actions to build primitives and more complex actions by scaffolding them. The framework has been validated using a humanoid robot iCub, which is able to learn without any prior knowledge: 1) the name of its fingers and the corresponding joint number, 2) how to fold and unfold them and 3) how to close or open its hand and how to show numbers with its fingers.

  • Conference paper
    Fischer T, Demiris Y, 2016,

    Markerless Perspective Taking for Humanoid Robots in Unconstrained Environments

    , 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 3309-3316

    Perspective taking enables humans to imagine the world from another viewpoint. This allows reasoning about the state of other agents, which in turn is used to more accurately predict their behavior. In this paper, we equip an iCub humanoid robot with the ability to perform visuospatial perspective taking (PT) using a single depth camera mounted above the robot. Our approach has the distinct benefit that the robot can be used in unconstrained environments, as opposed to previous works which employ marker-based motion capture systems. Prior to and during the PT, the iCub learns the environment, recognizes objects within the environment, and estimates the gaze of surrounding humans. We propose a new head pose estimation algorithm which shows a performance boost by normalizing the depth data to be aligned with the human head. Inspired by psychological studies, we employ two separate mechanisms for the two different types of PT. We implement line of sight tracing to determine whether an object is visible to the humans (level 1 PT). For more complex PT tasks (level 2 PT), the acquired point cloud is mentally rotated, which allows algorithms to reason as if the input data was acquired from an egocentric perspective. We show that this can be used to better judge where object are in relation to the humans. The multifaceted improvements to the PT pipeline advance the state of the art, and move PT in robots to markerless, unconstrained environments.

  • Journal article
    Lee K, Ognibene D, Chang H, Kim T-K, Demiris Yet al., 2015,

    STARE: Spatio-Temporal Attention Relocation for multiple structured activities detection

    , IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, Vol: 24, Pages: 5916-5927, ISSN: 1057-7149

    We present a spatio-temporal attention relocation (STARE) method, an information-theoretic approach for efficient detection of simultaneously occurring structured activities. Given multiple human activities in a scene, our method dynamically focuses on the currently most informative activity. Each activity can be detected without complete observation, as the structure of sequential actions plays an important role on making the system robust to unattended observations. For such systems, the ability to decide where and when to focus is crucial to achieving high detection performances under resource bounded condition. Our main contributions can be summarized as follows: 1) information-theoretic dynamic attention relocation framework that allows the detection of multiple activities efficiently by exploiting the activity structure information and 2) a new high-resolution data set of temporally-structured concurrent activities. Our experiments on applications show that the STARE method performs efficiently while maintaining a reasonable level of accuracy.

  • Conference paper
    Gao Y, Chang HJ, Demiris Y, 2015,

    User Modelling for Personalised Dressing Assistance by Humanoid Robots

    , International Conference on Intelligent Systems and Robots (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 1840-1845

    Assistive robots can improve the well-being of disabled or frail human users by reducing the burden that activities of daily living impose on them. To enable personalised assistance, such robots benefit from building a user-specific model, so that the assistance is customised to the particular set of user abilities. In this paper, we present an end-to-end approach for home-environment assistive humanoid robots to provide personalised assistance through a dressing application for users who have upper-body movement limitations. We use randomised decision forests to estimate the upper-body pose of users captured by a top-view depth camera, and model the movement space of upper-body joints using Gaussian mixture models. The movement space of each upper-body joint consists of regions with different reaching capabilities. We propose a method which is based on real-time upper-body pose and user models to plan robot motions for assistive dressing. We validate each part of our approach and test the whole system, allowing a Baxter humanoid robot to assist human to wear a sleeveless jacket.

  • Conference paper
    Zambelli M, Demiris Y, 2015,

    Online Ensemble Learning of Sensorimotor Contingencies

    , Workshop on Sensorimotor Contingencies For Robotics at IROS

    Forward models play a key role in cognitive agents by providing predictions of the sensory consequences of motor commands, also known as sensorimotor contingencies (SMCs). In continuously evolving environments, the ability to anticipate is fundamental in distinguishing cognitive from reactive agents, and it is particularly relevant for autonomous robots, that must be able to adapt their models in an online manner. Online learning skills, high accuracy of the forward models and multiple-step-ahead predictions are needed to enhance the robots’ anticipation capabilities. We propose an online heterogeneous ensemble learning method for building accurate forward models of SMCs relating motor commands to effects in robots’ sensorimotor system, in particular considering proprioception and vision. Our method achieves up to 98% higher accuracy both in short and long term predictions, compared to single predictors and other online and offline homogeneous ensembles. This method is validated on two different humanoid robots, namely the iCub and the Baxter.

  • Conference paper
    Kormushev P, Demiris Y, Caldwell DG, 2015,

    Kinematic-free Position Control of a 2-DOF Planar Robot Arm

  • Conference paper
    Sarabia M, Lee K, Demiris Y, 2015,

    Towards a Synchronised Grammars Framework for Adaptive Musical Human-Robot Collaboration

    , IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 715-721

    We present an adaptive musical collaboration framework for interaction between a human and a robot. The aim of our work is to develop a system that receives feedback from the user in real time and learns the music progression style of the user over time. To tackle this problem, we represent a song as a hierarchically structured sequence of music primitives. By exploiting the sequential constraints of these primitives inferred from the structural information combined with user feedback, we show that a robot can play music in accordance with the user’s anticipated actions. We use Stochastic Context-Free Grammars augmented with the knowledge of the learnt user’s preferences.We provide synthetic experiments as well as a pilot study with a Baxter robot and a tangible music table. The synthetic results show the synchronisation and adaptivity features of our framework and the pilot study suggest these are applicable to create an effective musical collaboration experience.

  • Conference paper
    Kucukyilmaz A, Demiris Y, 2015,

    One-shot assistance estimation from expert demonstrations for a shared control wheelchair system

    , International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 438-443

    An emerging research problem in the field of assistive robotics is the design of methodologies that allow robots to provide human-like assistance to the users. Especially within the rehabilitation domain, a grand challenge is to program a robot to mimic the operation of an occupational therapist, intervening with the user when necessary so as to improve the therapeutic power of the assistive robotic system. We propose a method to estimate assistance policies from expert demonstrations to present human-like intervention during navigation in a powered wheelchair setup. For this purpose, we constructed a setting, where a human offers assistance to the user over a haptic shared control system. The robot learns from human assistance demonstrations while the user is actively driving the wheelchair in an unconstrained environment. We train a Gaussian process regression model to learn assistance commands given past and current actions of the user and the state of the environment. The results indicate that the model can estimate human assistance after only a single demonstration, i.e. in one-shot, so that the robot can help the user by selecting the appropriate assistance in a human-like fashion.

  • Conference paper
    Georgiou T, Demiris Y, 2015,

    Predicting car states through learned models of vehicle dynamics and user behaviours

    , Intelligent Vehicles Symposium (IV), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 1240-1245

    The ability to predict forthcoming car states is crucial for the development of smart assistance systems. Forthcoming car states do not only depend on vehicle dynamics but also on user behaviour. In this paper, we describe a novel prediction methodology by combining information from both sources - vehicle and user - using Gaussian Processes. We then apply this method in the context of high speed car racing. Results show that the forthcoming position and speed of the car can be predicted with low Root Mean Square Error through the trained model.

  • Conference paper
    Chang HJ, Demiris Y, 2015,

    Unsupervised Learning of Complex Articulated Kinematic Structures combining Motion and Skeleton Information

    , IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 3138-3146

    In this paper we present a novel framework for unsupervised kinematic structure learning of complex articulated objects from a single-view image sequence. In contrast to prior motion information based methods, which estimate relatively simple articulations, our method can generate arbitrarily complex kinematic structures with skeletal topology by a successive iterative merge process. The iterative merge process is guided by a skeleton distance function which is generated from a novel object boundary generation method from sparse points. Our main contributions can be summarised as follows: (i) Unsupervised complex articulated kinematic structure learning by combining motion and skeleton information. (ii) Iterative fine-to-coarse merging strategy for adaptive motion segmentation and structure smoothing. (iii) Skeleton estimation from sparse feature points. (iv) A new highly articulated object dataset containing multi-stage complexity with ground truth. Our experiments show that the proposed method out-performs state-of-the-art methods both quantitatively and qualitatively.

  • Conference paper
    Kormushev P, Demiris Y, Caldwell DG, 2015,

    Encoderless Position Control of a Two-Link Robot Manipulator

  • Journal article
    Soh H, Demiris Y, 2015,

    Spatio-temporal learning with the online finite and infinite echo-state Gaussian processes

    , IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, Vol: 26, Pages: 522-536, ISSN: 2162-2388

    Successful biological systems adapt to change. In this paper, we are principally concerned with adaptive systems that operate in environments where data arrives sequentially and is multivariate in nature, for example, sensory streams in robotic systems. We contribute two reservoir inspired methods: 1) the online echostate Gaussian process (OESGP) and 2) its infinite variant, the online infinite echostate Gaussian process (OIESGP) Both algorithms are iterative fixed-budget methods that learn from noisy time series. In particular, the OESGP combines the echo-state network with Bayesian online learning for Gaussian processes. Extending this to infinite reservoirs yields the OIESGP, which uses a novel recursive kernel with automatic relevance determination that enables spatial and temporal feature weighting. When fused with stochastic natural gradient descent, the kernel hyperparameters are iteratively adapted to better model the target system. Furthermore, insights into the underlying system can be gleamed from inspection of the resulting hyperparameters. Experiments on noisy benchmark problems (one-step prediction and system identification) demonstrate that our methods yield high accuracies relative to state-of-the-art methods, and standard kernels with sliding windows, particularly on problems with irrelevant dimensions. In addition, we describe two case studies in robotic learning-by-demonstration involving the Nao humanoid robot and the Assistive Robot Transport for Youngsters (ARTY) smart wheelchair.

  • Journal article
    Wu Y, Su Y, Demiris Y, 2014,

    A morphable template framework for robot learning by demonstration: Integrating one-shot and incremental learning approaches

    , Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Vol: 62, Pages: 1517-1530

    Robot learning by demonstration is key to bringing robots into daily social environments to interact with and learn from human and other agents. However, teaching a robot to acquire new knowledge is a tedious and repetitive process and often restrictive to a specific setup of the environment. We propose a template-based learning framework for robot learning by demonstration to address both generalisation and adaptability. This novel framework is based upon a one-shot learning model integrated with spectral clustering and an online learning model to learn and adapt actions in similar scenarios. A set of statistical experiments is used to benchmark the framework components and shows that this approach requires no extensive training for generalisation and can adapt to environmental changes flexibly. Two real-world applications of an iCub humanoid robot playing the tic-tac-toe game and soldering a circuit board are used to demonstrate the relative merits of the framework.

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