Workshop on Deformable Object Simulation in Robotics

at Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS)

Live on Thursday, July 15, 2021, from 5 AM - 7 AM PT and 10:15 AM - 3 PM PT

(Required for participation in RSS workshops)

(Specific to this workshop; will be active starting on Thursday, July 15 at 4:30 AM PT)

(For all RSS workshops; enter the room with our workshop name; will be active during our interactive poster session, starting on Thursday, July 15 at 10:30 AM PT)

(Specific to this workshop; already active)

This workshop aims to bring together simulation researchers that develop deformable-object simulators, with roboticists that leverage these simulators for real-world robotics applications.

Credit: NVIDIA FleX
Credit: Robotic Materials, Inc., via IEEE Spectrum
Credit: SOFA (background: sim, foreground: real)

The workshop will aim to answer key questions, such as: What is the state-of-the-art in deformable-object simulation for robotics, and in using it to solve real-world tasks? What are the key performance requirements for simulators? And what are the shared grand challenges between deformable-object simulation and robotic manipulation?

Abstract: Physics-based simulation is essential for evaluating designs and control algorithms, as well as providing realism to games and movies. In robotics research, simulation has been used for evolving robotic hardware, generating datasets for supervised learning, training agents to perform long-horizon tasks via RL, and MPC. Nevertheless, there is a disconnect between the developers of robotic simulators and the roboticists that use them; namely, the simulation-builders are often unaware of the specific needs of roboticists, and roboticists are often unaware of both the capabilities and limitations of simulation. This workshop will focus on uniting these two communities to discuss one of the most challenging and important problems spanning robotics and simulation: developing simulators for deformable objects (e.g., rope, cloth, and fully-3D deformables) and leveraging them for real-world robotic manipulation. We will assess the state-of-the-art of deformable object simulation in robotics, identify unsolved problems, define benchmarks and grand challenges, and promote collaboration between roboticists and simulation researchers.

We strongly encourage equal participation and attendance from the robotics and simulation communities, within both academia and industry. We also aim to shine a spotlight on early-career researchers and underrepresented voices by having PhD students and post-docs serve as co-presenters during our speaker presentations, as well as presenters during our interactive poster sessions.