ECE Distinguished Seminar - Learning Meets Gravity: Robots that Learn to Embrace Dynamics from Data

2:30pm - 3:30pm
UC Rm G01A / Zoom

Despite the incredible capabilities (speed and repeatability) of our hardware today, many robot manipulators are deliberately programmed to avoid dynamics – moving slow enough so they can adhere to quasi-static assumptions of the world. In contrast, people frequently (and subconsciously) make use of dynamic phenomena to manipulate everyday objects – from unfurling blankets, to tossing trash – to improve efficiency and physical reach range. These abilities are made possible by an intuition of physics, a cornerstone of intelligence. How do we impart the same on robots?

Modeling the complex dynamics of the unstructured world is challenging. However, by enabling robots to directly learn perception-action feedback loops from raw sensory data, we show that it is possible to relax the need for accurate physics models. Thereby allowing robots to (i) acquire dynamic skills for complex objects, (ii) adapt to new scenarios using visual feedback, and (iii) use their dynamic interactions to improve their understanding of the world. Learning from data allows us to change the way we think about dynamics – from avoiding it to embracing it – simplifying a number of classically challenging problems, leading to new robot capabilities.

Event Format
Speakers / Performers:
Prof. Shuran SONG
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University

Shuran Song is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. Before that, she received her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Princeton University, BEng. at HKUST. Her research interests lie at the intersection of computer vision and robotics. Song’s research has been recognized through several awards including the Best Paper Awards at RSS’22 and T-RO’20, Best System Paper Awards at CoRL’21, RSS’19, and finalist at RSS, ICRA, CVPR, and IROS.  She is also a recipient of the NSF Career Award, Sloan Foundation fellowship as well as research awards from Microsoft, Toyota Research, Google, Amazon, and JP Morgan. To learn more about Shuran’s work please visit: 

Recommended For
Faculty and staff
HKUST Family
PG students
UG students
Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering
Cheng Kar-Shun Robotics Institute
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