Nothing But Geometric Constraints: A Model-Free Method for Articulated Object Pose Estimation

Qihao Liu, Weichao Qiu, Weiyao Wang, Gregory D. Hager, Alan L. Yuille

We propose an unsupervised vision-based system to estimate the joint configurations of the robot arm from a sequence of RGB or RGB-D images without knowing the model a priori, and then adapt it to the task of category-independent articulated object pose estimation. We combine a classical geometric formulation with deep learning and extend the use of epipolar constraint to multi-rigid-body systems to solve this task. Given a video sequence, the optical flow is estimated to get the pixel-wise dense correspondences. After that, the 6D pose is computed by a modified PnP algorithm. The key idea is to leverage the geometric constraints and the constraint between multiple frames. Furthermore, we build a synthetic dataset with different kinds of robots and multi-joint articulated objects for the research of vision-based robot control and robotic vision. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on three benchmark datasets and show that our method achieves higher accuracy than the state-of-the-art supervised methods in estimating joint angles of robot arms and articulated objects.

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