RSS 2009 Workshop: Mobile Manipulation in Human Environments

RSS 2009 Workshop: Mobile Manipulation in Human Environments

When: Sunday, 28 June, 9.00am - 5.30pm

Where: Robotics: Science and Systems Conference, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

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Submission deadline: 17 May 2009

The goal of this full-day workshop is to gather and discuss state of the art research in mobile manipulation. We emphasize mobile and manipulation: we will explore the problems that arise and the solutions that are developed when working with  robots that move freely through, and manipulate objects in, human-centered environments. These problems must be solved to develop applications in real-world settings in health care, flexible factories, and domestic chores. We are especially interested in autonomous systems that integrate robust sensing and actuation to perform tasks in cluttered and uncertain environments, but we also welcome new ideas on teleoperation and mixed-mode systems. Empirical results showing integrated systems with physical hardware are preferred, even if preliminary.

This workshop is the fifth installment in a series of manipulation-centered workshops at RSS. Previous RSS workshops were:

This workshop is also part of a broader movement of multiple communities toward mobile manipulation as a key interdisciplinary research topic. We encourage participation in other mobile manipulation meetings, such as the IJCAI 2009 Mobile Manipulation Challenge and the ICAPS 2009 Workshop on Bridging the Gap between Task and Motion Planning.




Authors / Speaker


9:00- 9:10

Brian Gerkey

Willow Garage



Session I: Personal robots

Chair: Robert Platt

9:10- 9:30

Joerg Stueckler, Kathrin Graeve, Jochen Klaess, Sebastian Muszynski, Michael Schreiber, Oliver Tischler, Ralf Waldukat, and Sven Behnke

University of Bonn

Dynamaid: Towards a Personal Robot that Helps with Household Chores

9:30- 9:50

Advait Jain, Charlie Kemp

Georgia Tech

Behavior-Based Door Opening with Equilibrium Point Control


Siddhartha Srinivasa

CMU / Intel Research Pittsburgh

HERB: A Home Exploring Robot Butler (invited talk)


Sachin Chitta

Willow Garage

Autonomous Door Opening and Plugging In For a Personal Robot (invited talk)

10:30 - 11:00



Session II: Understanding objects

Chair: Chad Jenkins


Jivko Sinapov, Alexander Stoytchev

Iowa State University

From Acoustic Object Recognition to Object Categorization by a Humanoid Robot


Jurgen Sturm, Cyrill Stachniss, Vijay Pradeep, Christian Plagemann, Kurt Konolige, Wolfram Burgard

Univ. Freiburg, Willow Garage, Stanford Univ.

Towards Understanding Articulated Objects


Ritika Sahai, Shane Griffith and Alexander Stoytchev

Iowa State Univ.

Interactive Identification of Writing Instruments and Writable Surfaces by a Robot



12:20- 2:00

Lunch break

2:00- 3:20

Session III: Manipulation

Chair: Kurt Konolige

2:00- 2:20

Danica Kragic


Representations for mobility and manipulation (invited talk)

2:20- 2:40

James Kuffner


Planning Constrained Manipulation Tasks (invited talk)

2:40- 3:00

Brian Mayton, Eric Garcia, Louis LeGrand, Joshua R. Smith

Univ. Washington, Intel Research Seattle

Electric Field Pretouch: Towards Mobile Manipulation

3:00- 3:20


3:20- 4:00


4:00- 5:20

Session IV: Evaluation and future directions

Chair: Brian Gerkey

4:00- 4:20

Stefan Christen, Edmund Milke, Erwin Prassler, Walter Nowak

Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, GPS Gesellschaft fur Produktionssyteme GmbH

Towards Harmonization and Refactoring of Mobile Manipulation Algorithms

4:20- 4:40

Robert Platt

NASA Johnson Space Center

Robotics problems in space environments (invited talk)

4:40- 5:00

Chad Jenkins

Brown Univ.

Challenges for Evaluation in Mobile Robotic Manipulation (invited talk)

5:00- 5:20


5:20- 5:30

Brian Gerkey

Willow Garage



We solicit paper submissions, optionally accompanied by a video, both of which will be reviewed (not double-blind) by the program committee. The review criteria will be: technical quality, significance of system demonstration, and topicality. We aim to accept 9–12 papers for oral presentation at the meeting. Videos will be shown during an afternoon session open to the public.

Accepted papers and videos will be assembled into proceedings and distributed in CD format at the workshop; they will also be archived at the Internet Archive (previous workshop proceedings).  If there is sufficient interest, we will pursue publication of a special journal issue to include the best papers.

Topics of interest include:

  • Integrated systems that can perform everyday tasks robustly
  • Visual or haptic feedback for manipulation
  • Task representation and planning for multi-step manipulation tasks
  • Integration of planning and control for complex manipulation tasks
  • Affordance identification and grasp planning
  • Semi-autonomous, human-in-the-loop control
  • Mobile manipulation with uncertain information
  • Manipulation of tools
  • Long-term autonomy for mobile manipulation systems
  • Safety and interaction with humans
  • Learning common manipulation capabilities
  • Object recognition and pose estimation

Papers should be in PDF, conform to the IEEE Transactions style (same style used for RSS) and be maximum of 8 pages in length (shorter papers are welcome).  Videos should be in the MPEG format, 3-5 minutes in length, and easily viewed with free video players (please try playing your video on a couple of different machines before submitting).

Email submissions to: . Please do not attach video files to email; include a URL instead.

Important Dates:

  • 17 May 2009: Submissions due
  • 27 May 2009: Notification of acceptance
  • 28 June 2009: Workshop (final papers will be collected in electronic form at the meeting)


Program Committee:

  • Sachin Chitta, Willow Garage
  • Matei Ciocarlie, Columbia University
  • Rod Grupen, UMass, Amherst
  • Sami Haddadin, DLR
  • Kaijen Hsiao, MIT
  • Charlie Kemp, Georgia Tech
  • Danica Kragic, KTH
  • James Kuffner, CMU
  • Morgan Quigley, Stanford University
  • Radu Bogdan Rusu, Technische Universitaet Muenchen
  • Siddhartha Srinivasa, CMU / Intel Research