Institute Talks

Multi-contact locomotion control for legged robots

Talk
  • 25 April 2017 • 11:00 12:30
  • Dr. Andrea Del Prete
  • N2.025 (AMD seminar room - 2nd floor)

This talk will survey recent work to achieve multi-contact locomotion control of humanoid and legged robots. I will start by presenting some results on robust optimization-based control. We exploited robust optimization techniques, either stochastic or worst-case, to improve the robustness of Task-Space Inverse Dynamics (TSID), a well-known control framework for legged robots. We modeled uncertainties in the joint torques, and we immunized the constraints of the system to any of the realizations of these uncertainties. We also applied the same methodology to ensure the balance of the robot despite bounded errors in the its inertial parameters. Extensive simulations in a realistic environment show that the proposed robust controllers greatly outperform the classic one. Then I will present preliminary results on a new capturability criterion for legged robots in multi-contact. "N-step capturability" is the ability of a system to come to a stop by taking N or fewer steps. Simplified models to compute N-step capturability already exist and are widely used, but they are limited to locomotion on flat terrains. We propose a new efficient algorithm to compute 0-step capturability for a robot in arbitrary contact scenarios. Finally, I will present our recent efforts to transfer the above-mentioned techniques to the real humanoid robot HRP-2, on which we recently implemented joint torque control.

Organizers: Ludovic Righetti

Learning from Synthetic Humans

Talk
  • 04 May 2017 • 15:00 16:00
  • Gul Varol
  • N3.022 (Greenhouse)

Estimating human pose, shape, and motion from images and video 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: 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.

Organizers: Dimitris Tzionas

Frederick Eberhardt - TBA

IS Colloquium
  • 03 July 2017 • 11:15 12:15
  • Frederick Eberhardt
  • Max Planck House Lecture Hall

Organizers: Sebastian Weichwald

  • Kathleen Robinette
  • MRZ Seminar Room

Kathleen is the creator of the well-known CAESAR anthropomorphic dataset and is an expert on body shape and apparel fit.

Organizers: Javier Romero


Intelligent control of uncertain underactuated mechanical systems

Talk
  • 01 December 2016 • 11:00 - 01 November 2016 • 12:00
  • Wallace M. Bessa
  • AMD Seminar Room (Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 15, 1rst floor)

Underactuated mechanical systems (UMS) play an essential role in several branches of industrial activity and their application scope ranges from robotic manipulators and overhead cranes to aerospace vehicles and watercrafts. Despite this broad spectrum of applications, the problem of designing accurate controllers for underactuated systems is, however, much more tricky than for fully actuated ones. Moreover, the dynamic behavior of an UMS is frequently uncertain and highly nonlinear, which in fact makes the design of control schemes for such systems a challenge for conventional and well established methods. In this talk, it will be shown that intelligent algorithms, such as fuzzy logic and artificial neural networks, could be combined with nonlinear control techniques (feedback linearization or sliding modes) in order to improve both set-point regulation and trajectory tracking of uncertain underactuated mechanical systems.

Organizers: Sebastian Trimpe


  • Carsten Rother
  • MRZ seminar room

In this talk I will present the portfolio of work we conduct in our lab. Herby, I will present three recent body of work in more detail. This is firstly our work on learning 6D Object Pose estimation and Camera localizing from RGB or RGBD images. I will show that by utilizing the concepts of uncertainty and learning to score hypothesis, we can improve the state of the art. Secondly, I will present a new approach for inferring multiple diverse labeling in a graphical model. Besides guarantees of an exact solution, our method is also faster than existing techniques. Finally, I will present a recent work in which we show that popular Auto-context Decision Forests can be mapped to Deep ConvNets for Semantic Segmentation. We use this to detect the spine of a zebrafish, in case when little training data is available.

Organizers: Aseem Behl


  • Bogdan Savchynskyy
  • Mrz Seminar Room (room no. 0.A.03)

We propose a new computational framework for combinatorial problems arising in machine learning and computer vision. This framework is a special case of Lagrangean (dual) decomposition, but allows for efficient dual ascent (message passing) optimization. In a sense, one can understand both the framework and the optimization technique as a generalization of those for standard undirected graphical models (conditional random fields). We will make an overview of our recent results and plans for the nearest future.

Organizers: Aseem Behl


  • Hedvig Kjellström
  • MRZ Seminar Room

In this talk I will first outline my different research projects. I will then focus on one project with applications in Health, and introduce the Inter-Battery Topic Model (IBTM). Our approach extends traditional topic models by learning a factorized latent variable representation. The structured representation leads to a model that marries benefits traditionally associated with a discriminative approach, such as feature selection, with those of a generative model, such as principled regularization and ability to handle missing data. The factorization is provided by representing data in terms of aligned pairs of observations as different views. This provides means for selecting a representation that separately models topics that exist in both views from the topics that are unique to a single view. This structured consolidation allows for efficient and robust inference and provides a compact and efficient representation.


Optical Robot Skin and Whole Body Vision

Talk
  • 19 October 2016 • 14:00 15:00
  • Chris Atkeson and Akihiko Yamaguchi
  • Max Planck House, Lecture Hall

Chris Atkeson will talk about the motivation for optical robot skin and whole-body vision. Akihiko Yamaguchi will talk about a first application, FingerVision.

Organizers: Ludovic Righetti


  • Jose R. Medina
  • AMD Seminar Room (Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 15, 1rst floor)

Control under uncertainty is an omnipresent problem in robotics that typically arises when robots must cope with unknown environments/tasks. Robot control typically ignores uncertainty by considering only the expected outcomes of the robot’s internal model. Interestingly, neuroscientist have shown that humans adapt their decisions depending on the level of uncertainty which is not reflected in the expected values, but in higher order statistics. In this talk I will first present an approach to systematically address this problem in the context of stochastic optimal control. I will then give an example of how the robot’s internal model structure defines the level uncertainty and its distribution. Finally, experiments in a physical human-robot interaction setting will illustrate the capabilities of this approach.

Organizers: Ludovic Righetti


  • Stéphane Caron
  • AMD Seminar Room (Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 15, 1rst floor)

Humanoid locomotion on horizontal floors was solved by closing the feedback loop on the Zero-tiling Moment Point (ZMP), a measurable dynamic point that needs to stay inside the foot contact area to prevent the robot from falling (contact stability criterion). However, this criterion does not apply to general multi-contact settings, the "new frontier" in humanoid locomotion. In this talk, we will see how the ideas of ZMP and support area can be generalized and applied to multi-contact locomotion. First, we will show how support areas can be calculated in any virtual plane, allowing one to apply classical schemes even when contacts are not coplanar. Yet, these schemes constraint the center-of-mass (COM) to planar motions. We overcome this limitation by extending the calculation of the contact-stability criterion from a support area to a support cone of 3D COM accelerations. We use this new criterion to implement a multi-contact walking pattern generator based on predictive control of COM accelerations, which we will demonstrate in real-time simulations during the presentation.

Organizers: Ludovic Righetti


  • Siyu Tang
  • MRZ Seminar Room (Spemannstr 41)

Understanding people in images and videos is a problem studied intensively in computer vision. While continuous progress has been made, occlusions, cluttered background, complex poses and large variety of appearance remain challenging, especially for crowded scenes. In this talk, I will explore the algorithms and tools that enable computer to interpret people's position, motion and articulated poses in the real-world challenging images and videos.More specifically, I will discuss an optimization problem whose feasible solutions define a decomposition of a given graph. I will highlight the applications of this problem in computer vision, which range from multi-person tracking [1,2,3] to motion segmentation [4]. I will also cover an extended optimization problem whose feasible solutions define a decomposition of a given graph and a labeling of its nodes with the application on multi-person pose estimation [5]. Reference: [1] Subgraph Decomposition for Multi-Object Tracking; S. Tang, B. Andres, M. Andriluka and B. Schiele; CVPR 2015 [2] Multi-Person Tracking by Multicut and Deep Matching; S. Tang, B. Andres, M. Andriluka and B. Schiele; arXiv 2016 [3] Multi-Person Tracking by Lifted Multicut and Person Re-identification; S. Tang, B. Andres, M. Andriluka and B. Schiele [4] A Multi-cut Formulation for Joint Segmentation and Tracking of Multiple Objects; M. Keuper, S. Tang, Z. Yu, B. Andres, T. Brox and B. Schiele; arXiv 2016 [5] DeepCut: Joint Subset Partition and Labeling for Multi Person Pose Estimation.: L. Pishchulin, E. Insafutdinov, S. Tang, B. Andres, M. Andriluka, P. Gehler and B. Schiele; CVPR16

Organizers: Naureen Mahmood


  • Hannes Nickisch, Philips Research, Hamburg
  • MRZ seminar room

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the single leading cause of death worldwide and Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA) is a non-invasive test to rule out CAD using the anatomical characterization of the coronary lesions. Recent studies suggest that coronary lesions’ hemodynamic significance can be assessed by Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR), which is usually measured invasively in the CathLab but can also be simulated from a patient-specific biophysical model based on CCTA data. We learn a parametric lumped model (LM) enabling fast computational fluid dynamic simulations of blood flow in elongated vessel networks to alleviate the computational burden of 3D finite element (FE) simulations. We adapt the coefficients balancing the local nonlinear hydraulic effects from a training set of precomputed FE simulations. Our LM yields accurate pressure predictions suggesting that costly FE simulations can be replaced by our fast LM paving the way to use a personalised interactive biophysical model with realtime feedback in clinical practice.