RI 16-843: Manipulation Algorithms

Instructors: Siddhartha Srinivasa (siddh "addressed at" cs.cmu.edu); Anca Dragan (adragan "addressed at" cs.cmu.edu)
Lectures: Mon and Wed, 1:30-2:50, NSH 3002


This is an advanced graduate-level class on the theory and algorithms that enable robots to physically manipulate their world, on their own or in collaboration with people. The class will first focus on functional aspects of manipulation, such as synthesizing robust and stable grasps for dexterous hands, the geometry of manipulation configuration spaces, and motion planning in these spaces. Moving forward, we will discuss additional requirements that arise from performing manipulation tasks collaboratively with people: moving from functional to optimal motion, learning from demonstration, and coordination via understanding and expressing intent.

Course Syllabus

Important Dates

September 29 - Project proposals due
October 29 - Mid-term report due
December 1 - final presentation -
December 3 - final presentation -
December 15 - final report due
December 18 - final grades due


This schedule is an approximate plan, and is subject to change during the semester.

# Day Date Topic Reading Notes
1 M 25 Aug Introduction Creation Myths: The Beginnings of Robotics Research, Mason, IEEE RAM 19(2), 2012. URL
The Summer Vision Project, Papert, AIM, 1966. URL
2 W 27 Aug Configuration Space Spatial Planning: A Configuration Space Approach, Lozano-Perez, 1980. PDF Lecture
M 1 Sep No class - CMU holiday
3 W 3 Sep Manipulation Configuration Spaces An Approach to Autonomous Robot Assembly, Koditschek, 1994. PDF Lecture
4 M 8 Sep Student presentations Laura Herlant - A simple motion-planning algorithm for general robot manipulators. PDF
Stefanos Nikolaidis - Real-Time Configuration Space Transforms for Obstacle Avoidance. PDF
Anne Holladay - Deadlock-Free and Collision-Free Coordination of Two Robot Manipulators. PDF
5 W 10 Sep Grasp Planning Grasping, Prattichizzo and Trinkle 2008. PDF Lecture
6 M 15 Sep Guest Lecture: Chris Dellin - Multi-Object Configuration Spaces Lecture
7 W 17 Sep Guest Lecture: Koushil Sreenath - Spatial Rotations Lecture
8 M 22 Sep Student presentations Evan Shapiro - Manipulation Planning with Probabilistic Roadmaps. [Only Sec. 1-4] PDF
Jane Sun - Animating rotations with quaternion curves. PDF
Wen Sun - Closed-loop Manipulator Control using quaternion feedback. PDF
9 W 24 Sep Experimental Design
10 M 29 Sep Student presentations Sibi Venkatesan - CHOMP: Covariant Hamiltonian Optimization for Motion Planning. [Only Sec. 7.1 and 7.2] PDF
Zhiwei Zhang - Effect of Virtual Fixture Compliance on Human-Machine Cooperative Manipulation. PDF
Jiaji Zhou - Using Spatial and Temporal Contrast for Fluent Robot-Human Hand-overs. PDF
11 W 1 Oct Grasping Chapter 5 Multifingered Hand Kinematics, A Mathematical Introduction to Robotic Manipulation, Murray, Li, Sastry, 1994. URL
The condition for contact grasp stability, Montana, ICRA 1991. PDF
12 M 6 Oct Student presentations Stefanos Nikolaidis - Grasp Planning: How to Choose a Suitable Task Wrench Space, Borst et al. 2004. PDF
Annie Holladay - Task-Oriented Optimal Grasping by Multifingered Robot Hands, IEEE JRA, 1988. PDF
Evan Shapiro - Knowledge-Based Prehension: Capturing Human Dexterity, ICRA 1988. PDF
13 W 8 Sep Grasp Planning Grasping, Prattichizzo and Trinkle 2008. PDF Lecture
14 M 13 Oct Student presentations Jiaji Zhou - Automatic Grasp Planning Using Shape Primitives, Miller et al. 2003. PDF
Wen Sun - Grasp Planning in Complex Scenes, Berenson et al. IEEE ICRA, 2007. PDF
Jane Sun - Postural Hand Synergies for Tool Use, J Neuroscience 1988. PDF
15 W 15 Oct Roadmaps Analysis of Probabilistic Roadmaps for Path Planning, Kavraki, Kolountzakis, and Latombe, 1998. PDF Lecture
16 M 20 Oct Student presentations Stefanos Nikolaidis - Visibility based probabilistic roadmaps for motion planning. PDF
Evan Shapiro - Sparsification of Motion-Planning Roadmaps by Edge Contraction. PDF
Zhiwei Zhang - A randomized approach to robot path planning based on lazy evaluation. PDF
17 W 22 Oct Single-query Planners Path Planning in Expansive Configuration Spaces, Hsu, Latombe, and Motwani 1999. PDF
Randomized Kinodynamic Planning, Lavalle and Kuffner 1999. PDF
18 M 27 Oct Student presentations Laura Herlant - Motion planning using adaptive random walks. PDF
Anne Holladay - A single-query bi-directional probabilistic roadmap planner with lazy collision checking. PDF
Jane Sun - A Monte-Carlo Algorithm for Path Planning With Many Degrees of Freedom. PDF
19 W 29 Oct Planning in Cost Spaces Creating high-quality paths for motion planning, Geraerts and Overmars, 2007. PDF
Approaches for Heuristically Biasing RRT Growth, Urmson and Simmons, 2003. PDF
Anytime RRTs, Ferguson and Stentz, 2006. PDF
Sampling-based algorithms for optimal motion planning, Karaman and Frazzoli, 2011. PDF
20 M 3 Nov Student presentations Laura Herlant - Randomized Path Planning for Linkages With Closed Kinematic Chains. PDF
Wen Sun - Path Planning with Loop Closure Constraints using an Atlas-based RRT. PDF
Jiaji Zhou - Multi-Modal Motion Planning for a Humanoid Robot Manipulation Task PDF
21 W 5 Nov Trajectory Optimization 1
22 M 10 Nov Student presentations Annie Holladay - Incremental Sampling-based Algorithms for Optimal Motion Planning. PDF
Zhiwei Zhang - Elastic Bands: Connecting Path Planning and Control. PDF
Stefanos Nikolaidis - Natural Gradient Works Efficiently in Learning [pages 1-6]. PDF
23 W 12 Nov Trajectory Optimization 2 CHOMP PDF
Spacetime Constraints PDF
24 M 17 Nov Student presentations Evan Shapiro - Manipulation Planning with Goal Sets Using Constrained Trajectory Optimization. PDF
Wen Sun - STOMP: Stochastic Trajectory Optimization for Motion Planning. PDF
Jane Sun - Planning human-aware motions using a sampling-based costmap planner. PDF
25 W 19 Nov Challenges of Collaborative Manipulation MMP PDF
Intent Prediction PDF
Coordination PDF
26 M 24 Nov Student presentations Jiaji Zhou - Dynamic Movement Primitives PDF
Zhiwei Zhang - Designing Robot Learners that Ask Good Questions.. PDF
Laura Herlant - Collaboration in Human-Robot Teams. PDF
27 M 1 Dec Final presentations 1 Laura
27 M 3 Dec Final presentations 2 Jiaji