Generalizable manipulation of articulated objects remains a challenging problem in many real-world scenarios, given the diverse object structures, functionalities, and goals. In these tasks, both semantic interpretations and physical plausibilities are crucial for a policy to succeed. To address this problem, we propose SAGE, a novel framework that bridges the understanding of semantic and actionable parts of articulated objects to achieve generalizable manipulation under language instructions. Given a manipulation goal specified by natural language, an instruction interpreter with Large Language Models (LLMs) first translates them into programmatic actions on the object's semantic parts. This process also involves a scene context parser for understanding the visual inputs, which is designed to generate scene descriptions with both rich information and accurate interaction-related facts by joining the forces of generalist Visual-Language Models (VLMs) and domain-specialist part perception models. To further convert the action programs into executable policies, a part grounding module then maps the object semantic parts suggested by the instruction interpreter into so-called Generalizable Actionable Parts (GAParts). Finally, an interactive feedback module is incorporated to respond to failures, which greatly increases the robustness of the overall framework. Experiments both in simulation environments and on real robots show that our framework can handle a large variety of articulated objects with diverse language-instructed goals. We also provide a new benchmark for language-guided articulated-object manipulation in realistic scenarios.
Recent breakthroughs in text-to-4D generation rely on pre-trained text-to-image and text-to-video models to generate dynamic 3D scenes. However, current text-to-4D methods face a three-way tradeoff between the quality of scene appearance, 3D structure, and motion. For example, text-to-image models and their 3D-aware variants are trained on internet-scale image datasets and can be used to produce scenes with realistic appearance and 3D structure -- but no motion. Text-to-video models are trained on relatively smaller video datasets and can produce scenes with motion, but poorer appearance and 3D structure. While these models have complementary strengths, they also have opposing weaknesses, making it difficult to combine them in a way that alleviates this three-way tradeoff. Here, we introduce hybrid score distillation sampling, an alternating optimization procedure that blends supervision signals from multiple pre-trained diffusion models and incorporates benefits of each for high-fidelity text-to-4D generation. Using hybrid SDS, we demonstrate synthesis of 4D scenes with compelling appearance, 3D structure, and motion.
Recent works use the Neural radiance field (NeRF) to perform multi-view 3D reconstruction, providing a significant leap in rendering photorealistic scenes. However, despite its efficacy, NeRF exhibits limited capability of learning view-dependent effects compared to light field rendering or image-based view synthesis. To that end, we introduce a modification to the NeRF rendering equation which is as simple as a few lines of code change for any NeRF variations, while greatly improving the rendering quality of view-dependent effects. By swapping the integration operator and the direction decoder network, we only integrate the positional features along the ray and move the directional terms out of the integration, resulting in a disentanglement of the view-dependent and independent components. The modified equation is equivalent to the classical volumetric rendering in ideal cases on object surfaces with Dirac densities. Furthermore, we prove that with the errors caused by network approximation and numerical integration, our rendering equation exhibits better convergence properties with lower error accumulations compared to the classical NeRF. We also show that the modified equation can be interpreted as light field rendering with learned ray embeddings. Experiments on different NeRF variations show consistent improvements in the quality of view-dependent effects with our simple modification.
Deformable object manipulation stands as one of the most captivating yet formidable challenges in robotics. While previous techniques have predominantly relied on learning latent dynamics through demonstrations, typically represented as either particles or images, there exists a pertinent limitation: acquiring suitable demonstrations, especially for long-horizon tasks, can be elusive. Moreover, basing learning entirely on demonstrations can hamper the model's ability to generalize beyond the demonstrated tasks. In this work, we introduce a demonstration-free hierarchical planning approach capable of tackling intricate long-horizon tasks without necessitating any training. We employ large language models (LLMs) to articulate a high-level, stage-by-stage plan corresponding to a specified task. For every individual stage, the LLM provides both the tool's name and the Python code to craft intermediate subgoal point clouds. With the tool and subgoal for a particular stage at our disposal, we present a granular closed-loop model predictive control strategy. This leverages Differentiable Physics with Point-to-Point correspondence (DiffPhysics-P2P) loss in the earth mover distance (EMD) space, applied iteratively. Experimental findings affirm that our technique surpasses multiple benchmarks in dough manipulation, spanning both short and long horizons. Remarkably, our model demonstrates robust generalization capabilities to novel and previously unencountered complex tasks without any preliminary demonstrations. We further substantiate our approach with experimental trials on real-world robotic platforms.
Neural radiance fields (NeRF) rely on volume rendering to synthesize novel views. Volume rendering requires evaluating an integral along each ray, which is numerically approximated with a finite sum that corresponds to the exact integral along the ray under piecewise constant volume density. As a consequence, the rendered result is unstable w.r.t. the choice of samples along the ray, a phenomenon that we dub quadrature instability. We propose a mathematically principled solution by reformulating the sample-based rendering equation so that it corresponds to the exact integral under piecewise linear volume density. This simultaneously resolves multiple issues: conflicts between samples along different rays, imprecise hierarchical sampling, and non-differentiability of quantiles of ray termination distances w.r.t. model parameters. We demonstrate several benefits over the classical sample-based rendering equation, such as sharper textures, better geometric reconstruction, and stronger depth supervision. Our proposed formulation can be also be used as a drop-in replacement to the volume rendering equation of existing NeRF-based methods. Our project page can be found at pl-nerf.github.io.
Humans excel at transferring manipulation skills across diverse object shapes, poses, and appearances due to their understanding of semantic correspondences between different instances. To endow robots with a similar high-level understanding, we develop a Distilled Feature Field (DFF) for 3D scenes, leveraging large 2D vision models to distill semantic features from multiview images. While current research demonstrates advanced performance in reconstructing DFFs from dense views, the development of learning a DFF from sparse views is relatively nascent, despite its prevalence in numerous manipulation tasks with fixed cameras. In this work, we introduce SparseDFF, a novel method for acquiring view-consistent 3D DFFs from sparse RGBD observations, enabling one-shot learning of dexterous manipulations that are transferable to novel scenes. Specifically, we map the image features to the 3D point cloud, allowing for propagation across the 3D space to establish a dense feature field. At the core of SparseDFF is a lightweight feature refinement network, optimized with a contrastive loss between pairwise views after back-projecting the image features onto the 3D point cloud. Additionally, we implement a point-pruning mechanism to augment feature continuity within each local neighborhood. By establishing coherent feature fields on both source and target scenes, we devise an energy function that facilitates the minimization of feature discrepancies w.r.t. the end-effector parameters between the demonstration and the target manipulation. We evaluate our approach using a dexterous hand, mastering real-world manipulations on both rigid and deformable objects, and showcase robust generalization in the face of object and scene-context variations.
If a robot masters folding a kitchen towel, we would also expect it to master folding a beach towel. However, existing works for policy learning that rely on data set augmentations are still limited in achieving this level of generalization. Our insight is to add equivariance to both the visual object representation and policy architecture. We propose EquivAct which utilizes SIM(3)-equivariant network structures that guarantee generalization across all possible object translations, 3D rotations, and scales by construction. Training of EquivAct is done in two phases. We first pre-train a SIM(3)-equivariant visual representation on simulated scene point clouds. Then, we learn a SIM(3)-equivariant visuomotor policy on top of the pre-trained visual representation using a small amount of source task demonstrations. We demonstrate that after training, the learned policy directly transfers to objects that substantially differ in scale, position and orientation from the source demonstrations. In simulation, we evaluate our method in three manipulation tasks involving deformable and articulated objects thereby going beyond the typical rigid object manipulation tasks that prior works considered. We show that our method outperforms prior works that do not use equivariant architectures or do not use our contrastive pre-training procedure. We also show quantitative and qualitative experiments on three real robot tasks, where the robot watches twenty demonstrations of a tabletop task and transfers zero-shot to a mobile manipulation task in a much larger setup. Project website: https://equivact.github.io
We introduce AO-Grasp, a grasp proposal method that generates stable and actionable 6 degree-of-freedom grasps for articulated objects. Our generated grasps enable robots to interact with articulated objects, such as opening and closing cabinets and appliances. Given a segmented partial point cloud of a single articulated object, AO-Grasp predicts the best grasp points on the object with a novel Actionable Grasp Point Predictor model and then finds corresponding grasp orientations for each point by leveraging a state-of-the-art rigid object grasping method. We train AO-Grasp on our new AO-Grasp Dataset, which contains 48K actionable parallel-jaw grasps on synthetic articulated objects. In simulation, AO-Grasp achieves higher grasp success rates than existing rigid object grasping and articulated object interaction baselines on both train and test categories. Additionally, we evaluate AO-Grasp on 120 realworld scenes of objects with varied geometries, articulation axes, and joint states, where AO-Grasp produces successful grasps on 67.5% of scenes, while the baseline only produces successful grasps on 33.3% of scenes.
Object tracking is central to robot perception and scene understanding. Tracking-by-detection has long been a dominant paradigm for object tracking of specific object categories. Recently, large-scale pre-trained models have shown promising advances in detecting and segmenting objects and parts in 2D static images in the wild. This begs the question: can we re-purpose these large-scale pre-trained static image models for open-vocabulary video tracking? In this paper, we re-purpose an open-vocabulary detector, segmenter, and dense optical flow estimator, into a model that tracks and segments objects of any category in 2D videos. Our method predicts object and part tracks with associated language descriptions in monocular videos, rebuilding the pipeline of Tractor with modern large pre-trained models for static image detection and segmentation: we detect open-vocabulary object instances and propagate their boxes from frame to frame using a flow-based motion model, refine the propagated boxes with the box regression module of the visual detector, and prompt an open-world segmenter with the refined box to segment the objects. We decide the termination of an object track based on the objectness score of the propagated boxes, as well as forward-backward optical flow consistency. We re-identify objects across occlusions using deep feature matching. We show that our model achieves strong performance on multiple established video object segmentation and tracking benchmarks, and can produce reasonable tracks in manipulation data. In particular, our model outperforms previous state-of-the-art in UVO and BURST, benchmarks for open-world object tracking and segmentation, despite never being explicitly trained for tracking. We hope that our approach can serve as a simple and extensible framework for future research.
Current machine learning methods struggle to solve Bongard problems, which are a type of IQ test that requires deriving an abstract "concept" from a set of positive and negative "support" images, and then classifying whether or not a new query image depicts the key concept. On Bongard-HOI, a benchmark for natural-image Bongard problems, existing methods have only reached 66% accuracy (where chance is 50%). Low accuracy is often attributed to neural nets' lack of ability to find human-like symbolic rules. In this work, we point out that many existing methods are forfeiting accuracy due to a much simpler problem: they do not incorporate information contained in the support set as a whole, and rely instead on information extracted from individual supports. This is a critical issue, because unlike in few-shot learning tasks concerning object classification, the "key concept" in a typical Bongard problem can only be distinguished using multiple positives and multiple negatives. We explore a variety of simple methods to take this cross-image context into account, and demonstrate substantial gains over prior methods, leading to new state-of-the-art performance on Bongard-LOGO (75.3%) and Bongard-HOI (72.45%) and strong performance on the original Bongard problem set (60.84%).