Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Author:Sylvie C.W.Ong, Shao Wei Png, David Hsu and Wee Sun Lee.
Partially observable Markov decision processes
(POMDPs) provide a principled mathematical framework for
motion planning of autonomous robots in uncertain and dynamic
environments. They have been successfully applied to
various robotic tasks, but a major challenge is to scale up
POMDP algorithms for more complex robotic systems. Robotic
systems often have mixed observability: even when a robot’s
state is not fully observable, some components of the state
may still be fully observable. Exploiting this, we use a factored
model to represent separately the fully and partially observable
components of a robot’s state and derive a compact lowerdimensional
representation of its belief space. We then use this
factored representation in conjunction with a point-based algorithm
to compute approximate POMDP solutions. Separating
fully and partially observable state components using a factored
model opens up several opportunities to improve the efficiency
of point-based POMDP algorithms. Experiments show that on
standard test problems, our new algorithm is many times faster
than a leading point-based POMDP algorithm.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Robotic hands are usually just that -- hands -- but some researchers from the University of Chicago and Cornell University (with a little help from iRobot) have taken a decidedly different approach for their so-called universal robotic gripper. As you can see above, the gripper is actually a balloon that can conform to and grip just about any small object, and hang onto it firmly enough to pick it up. What's the secret? After much testing, the researchers found that ground coffee was the best substance to fill the balloon with -- to grab an object, the gripper simply creates a vacuum in the balloon (much like a vacuum-sealed bag of coffee), and it's then able to let go of the object just by releasing the vacuum. Simple, but it works. Head on past the break to check it out in action. [via engadget]
Monday, October 25, 2010
Lab meeting Oct. 25 2010, (David) Threat-aware Path Planning in Uncertain Urban Environments (IROS 2010)
Authors: Georges S. Aoude, Brandon D. Luders, Daniel S. Levine, and Jonathan P. How
This paper considers the path planning problem
for an autonomous vehicle in an urban environment populated
with static obstacles and moving vehicles with uncertain intents.
We propose a novel threat assessment module, consisting of
an intention predictor and a threat assessor, which augments
the host vehicle’s path planner with a real-time threat value
representing the risks posed by the estimated intentions of
other vehicles. This new threat-aware planning approach is
applied to the CL-RRT path planning framework, used by the
MIT team in the 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge. The strengths
of this approach are demonstrated through simulation and
experiments performed in the RAVEN testbed facilities
Monday, October 11, 2010
Lab meeting Oct. 11 2010, (Shao-Chen) Consistent data association in multi-robot systems with limited communications(RSS 2010)
Authors: Rosario Aragues,Eduardo Montijano, and Carlos Sagues
In this paper we address the data association
problem of features observed by a robot team with limited communications.
At every time instant, each robot can only exchange
data with a subset of the robots, its neighbors. Initially, each
robot solves a local data association with each of its neighbors.
After that, the robots execute the proposed algorithm to agree
on a data association between all their local observations which
is globally consistent. One inconsistency appears when chains of
local associations give rise to two features from one robot being
associated among them. The contribution of this work is the
decentralized detection and resolution of these inconsistencies.
We provide a fully decentralized solution to the problem. This
solution does not rely on any particular communication topology.
Every robot plays the same role, making the system robust to
individual failures. Information is exchanged exclusively between
neighbors. In a finite number of iterations, the algorithm finishes
with a data association which is free of inconsistent associations.
In the experiments, we show the performance of the algorithm
under two scenarios. In the first one, we apply the resolution
and detection algorithm for a set of stochastic visual maps. In
the second, we solve the feature matching between a set of images
taken by a robotic team.
Lab meeting Oct. 11th 2010, (Nicole) Improvement in Listening Capability for Humanoid Robot HRP-2(ICRA 2010)
Title: Improvement in Listening Capability for Humanoid Robot HRP-2 (ICRA2010)
Authors: Toru Takahashi, Kazuhiro Nakadai, Kazunori Komatani, Tetsuya Ogata and Hiroshi G. Okuno.
This paper describes improvement of sound source separation for a simultaneous automatic speech recognition (ASR) system of a humanoid robot. A recognition error in the system is caused by a separation error and interferences of other sources. In separability, an original geometric source separation (GSS) is improved. Our GSS uses a measured robot’s head related transfer function (HRTF) to estimate a separation matrix. As an original GSS uses a simulated HRTF calculated based on a distance between microphone and sound source, there is a large mismatch between the simulated and the measured transfer functions. The mismatch causes a severe degradation of recognition performance.
Faster convergence speed of separation matrix reduces separation error. Our approach gives a nearer initial separation matrix based on a measured transfer function from an optimal separation matrix than a simulated one. As a result, we expect that our GSS improves the convergence speed. Our GSS is also able to handle an adaptive step-size parameter.
These new features are added into open source robot audition software (OSS) called”HARK” which is newly updated as version 1.0.0. The HARK has been installed on a HRP-2 humanoid with an 8-element microphone array. The listening capability of HRP-2 is evaluated by recognizing a target speech signal which is separated from a simultaneous speech signal by three talkers. The word correct rate (WCR) of ASR improves by 5 points under normal acoustic environments and by 10 points under noisy environments. Experimental results show that HARK 1.0.0 improves the robustness against noises.