CHIRON Project:

Our motivation:

Dexterous manipulation of objects is a core task in robotics. Because of the design complexity needed for robot controllers, robots currently in use are mostly limited to specific tasks within a known environment, even for simple manipulation tasks. Within the CHIRON project, we aim to develop an AI-empowered general-purpose robotic system for dexterous manipulation of complex and unknown objects in rapidly changing, dynamic and unpredictable real-world environments. To achieve these goals, we will use intuitive embodied robotic teleoperation under optimized shared-control between the human operator enhanced with an intuitive haptic interface and the robot controller empowered with vision and learning skills. The privileged use case of such a system is assistance for ``stick-to-bed'' patients or elders with limited physical ability in their daily life object manipulation tasks, e.g., fetching a bottle of water and pouring it into a glass, through an intuitive and embodied robot teleoperated by themselves. Such object manipulations would otherwise not be possible for them.

Our vision:

To make possible such an embodied teleoperated robotic system for dexterous manipulation, without any assumption about the object being manipulated and the operating environment, the CHIRON project features unique innovations simultaneously on robotics, computer vision, and machine learning. Specifically, the CHIRON project will make use of a dual-arm robot and aims to bring breakthroughs in the following research topics: compliant grippers with tactile feedback, deep understanding of the scene, reinforcement learning-based shared robot control, an intuitive and effective haptic interface for the embodiment of the dual-arm robot, and the last and not the least few-shot learning given the limited amount of data, e.g., trials that the envisaged system can afford with the physical ability limited human operator, for the training of the deep scene analysis and shared robot control so that the embodied dual-arm robot easily to adapt to a novel operator for complex never seen before object manipulation in rapidly changing environments. The CHIRON project will advance state of the art in AI to accomplish complex tasks and allow high-level interactions with human users and contribute to core AI technologies.

To make such a system possible, the CHIRON project makes use of a dual-arm robot, e.g., TIAGo++ aims to make breakthroughs in the following research topics:


Expected Outcome:

The key components of the CHIRON project are covered by the unique symbiosis of each partner's respective world-class expertise. Prof. Hasegawa's group from Japan brings its unique expertise in assistive robotics with an embodiment for augmented human physical skills, e.g., extra robotic thumb, intelligent canes for the elderly, exoskeletons. Prof. Peters' team from Germany provides their well-known rich experience in robotic manipulation, including tactile sensing, robotic teleoperation, learning from demonstration, and reinforcement learning. Prof. Chen's group from France brings their confirmed expertise in computer vision and machine learning for the deep understanding of the scene for object manipulation. The societal impact of the project is potentially huge. Instead of laying down workers when fully automating manipulation with state-of-the-art robots, the embodied teleoperated manipulation robot system targeted in the Chiron project augments general people with dexterous manipulation skills. In our privileged use case, the elderly and patients will be able to operate robots intuitively, leading to a reconstructed social welfare system to improve their independent life.