Plants are dynamic organisms. Understanding temporal variations in vegetation is an essential problem for all robots in the wild. However, associating repeated 3D scans of plants across time is challenging. A key step in this process is re-identifying and tracking the same individual plant components over time. Previously, this has been achieved by comparing their global spatial or topological location. In this work, we demonstrate how using shape features improves temporal organ matching. We present a landmark-free shape compression algorithm, which allows for the extraction of 3D shape features of leaves, characterises leaf shape and curvature efficiently in few parameters, and makes the association of individual leaves in feature space possible. The approach combines 3D contour extraction and further compression using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to produce a shape space encoding, which is entirely learned from data and retains information about edge contours and 3D curvature. Our evaluation on temporal scan sequences of tomato plants shows, that incorporating shape features improves temporal leaf-matching. A combination of shape, location, and rotation information proves most informative for recognition of leaves over time and yields a true positive rate of 75%, a 15% improvement on sate-of-the-art methods. This is essential for robotic crop monitoring, which enables whole-of-lifecycle phenotyping.
Myoelectric control systems for assistive devices are still unreliable. The user's input signals can become unstable over time due to e.g. fatigue, electrode displacement, or sweat. Hence, such controllers need to be constantly updated and heavily rely on user feedback. In this paper, we present an automatic failure detection method which learns when plausible predictions become unreliable and model updates are necessary. Our key insight is to enhance the control system with a set of generative models that learn sensible behaviour for a desired task from human demonstration. We illustrate our approach on a grasping scenario in Virtual Reality, in which the user is asked to grasp a bottle on a table. From demonstration our model learns the reach-to-grasp motion from a resting position to two grasps (power grasp and tridigital grasp) and how to predict the most adequate grasp from local context, e.g. tridigital grasp on the bottle cap or around the bottleneck. By measuring the error between new grasp attempts and the model prediction, the system can effectively detect which input commands do not reflect the user's intention. We evaluated our model in two cases: i) with both position and rotation information of the wrist pose, and ii) with only rotational information. Our results show that our approach detects statistically highly significant differences in error distributions with p < 0.001 between successful and failed grasp attempts in both cases.