Stir to Pour: Efficient Calibration of Liquid Properties for Pouring Actions

Tatiana López Guevara, Rita Pucci, Nick Taylor, Michael U. Gutmann, Subramanian Ramamoorthy, Kartic Subr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Abstract

Humans use simple probing actions to develop intuition about the physical behavior of common objects. Such intuition is particularly useful for adaptive estimation of favorable manipulation strategies of those objects in novel contexts. For example, observing the effect of tilt on a transparent bottle containing an unknown liquid provides clues on how the liquid might be poured. It is desirable to equip general-purpose robotic systems with this capability because it is inevitable that they will encounter novel objects and scenarios. In this paper, we teach a robot to use a simple, specified probing strategy –
stirring with a stick – to reduce spillage while pouring unknown liquids. In the probing step, we continuously observe the effects of a real robot stirring a liquid, while simultaneously tuning the parameters to a model (simulator) until the two outputs are in agreement. We obtain optimal simulation parameters, characterizing the unknown liquid, via a Bayesian Optimizer that minimizes the discrepancy between real and simulated outcomes. Then, we optimize the pouring policy conditioning on the optimal simulation parameters determined via stirring. We show that using stirring as a probing strategy result in reduced
spillage for three qualitatively different liquids when executed on a UR10 Robot, compared to probing via pouring. Finally, we provide quantitative insights into the reason for stirring being a suitable calibration task for pouring –a step towards automatic discovery of probing strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2020
Event2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: 25 Oct 202029 Oct 2020
https://www.iros2020.org/

Conference

Conference2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
Abbreviated titleIROS 2020
CountryUnited States
CityLas Vegas
Period25/10/2029/10/20
Internet address

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