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ShapeStacks: Giving Robots a Physical Intuition

TLDR: Physical intuition is a human super-power. It enables our superior object manipulation skills which we apply in countless scenarios - from playing with toys to using tools. The ShapeStacks project aims to equip robots with a similar intuition by providing a virtual playground in which robots can acquire physical experiences.     [ Paper · Code · Data ]   Most of us have probably played a game of Jenga before, dealt with stacks of dirty dishes in their kitchen or used a hammer to hit a nail into a piece of wood. The inherent complexity of these simple everyday tasks becomes immediately clear when we try to build a machine which is capable of doing the same thing. Robots are essentially computers integrating sensing, locomotion and manipulation. And like all computers, they are first and foremost fast and exact calculators. Yet, despite their number-crunching powers (which allows them to perform complex physical and geometric calculations in split-seconds) they still largely struggle with basic object manipulation. Humans on the other hand, possess only a tiny fraction of the arithmetic exactitude of a computer, but are still capable of “computing” accurate movements of their limbs (e.g. swinging a hammer on a nail’s head) and estimates of the physical states of the objects around them (e.g. judging the stability of a stack of dishes).   Researchers in cognitive science have been investigating our perception of the physical environment for some time, e.g. [...]

By |January 16th, 2019|Categories: ORI Blog|Comments Off on ShapeStacks: Giving Robots a Physical Intuition
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