Hamidreza Kasaei

I joined the Department of Artificial Intelligence of the University of Groningen as a Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) Fellow in August 2018. My main research interests lie in the area of 3D Object Perception, Grasp Affordance, and Object Manipulation. Currently, I am developing an artificial cognitive system for assistive robots to provide a tight coupling between perception and manipulation. This coupling is necessary for assistive robots, not only to perform manipulation tasks appropriately but also to robustly adapt to new environments by handling new objects. I have extensive background in computer vision, machine learning and robotics. During my Ph.D., I got an opportunity to work on an FP7 Project named RACE: Robustness by Autonomous Competence Enhancement. In this project, I was mainly responsible to develop interactive open-ended learning approaches to recognize multiple objects and their grasp affordances concurrently. During my master, I studied face recognition using single normal reference image and statistical features. Besides, I worked on middle size soccer robot and humanoid robot and obtained different ranks in RoboCup competitions. Navigate my web page if you want to know more about me and my work. Enjoy!

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Latest News


* June 2019: Our paper Local-LDA: Open-Ended Learning of Latent Topics for 3D Object Recognition got accepted at IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI - IF = 17.730).
* June 2019: Our paper Look Further to Recognize Better: Learning Shared Topics and Category-Specific Dictionaries for Open-Ended 3D Object Recognition got accepted at IROS2019.
* May 2019: We will organize a full-day workshop on Task-Informed Grasping (TIG-II): From Perception to Physical Interaction at RSS2019.
* April 2019: We will organize a full-day workshop on Open-Ended Learning for Object Perception and Grasping: Current Successes and Future Challenges at IROS2019.
* April 2019: I am honored to be a member of the 2019 cohort of the RSS Pioneers.
* January 2019: Our paper Interactive Open-Ended Object, Affordance and Grasp Learning for Robotic Manipulation got accepted at ICRA2019.
* November 2018: I got the qualification of University Teaching Skills from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
* October 2018: My NVIDIA GPU Grant has been approved. Thank NVIDIA Corporation for supporting our works.
* July 2018: Our paper Coping with Context Change in Open-Ended Object Recognition without Explicit Context Information got accepted at IROS2018.
* July 2018: I will be a Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE Fellow) at Artificial Intelligence & Cognitive Engineering, Artificial Intelligence department, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
* December 2017: Bin-Picking Synthetic Dataset is now available here! This dataset contains RGB and depth images captured from multiple views in five different physically feasible bin picking scenarios.
* November 2017: Our paper Perceiving, Learning, and Recognizing 3D Objects: An Approach to Cognitive Service Robots got accepted at AAAI2018.
* June 2017: An open-source implementation of the GOOD descriptor is now available here!
* May 2017: Restaurant Object Dataset v.1.0 (RGB-D) is now available here! It contains 306 views of one instance of each category (Bottle, Bowl, Flask, Fork, Knife, Mug, Plate, Spoon, Teapot, and Vase), and 31 views of Unknown objects views (e.g. views that belong to the furniture).
* April 2017: New journal paper accepted at Neurocomputing journal: Towards Lifelong Assistive Robotics: A Tight Coupling between Object Perception and Manipulation.
* Jan 2017: I will be a research intern at ICVL Lab, Imperial Colledge London, UK.

Research & Publication

My research interests focus on the intersection of robotics, machine learning and machine vision. I am interested in developing algorithms for an adaptive perception system based on interactive environment exploration and open-ended learning, which enables robots to learn from past experiences and interact with human users. I have been investigating on active perception, where robots use their mobility and manipulation capabilities not only to gain the most useful perceptual information to model the world, but also to predict the next best view for improving detection and manipulation performances. I have evaluated my works on different platforms including PR2, robotic arms, and humanoid robots. My up-to-date list of publications and corresponding BibTeX files can be found on my Google scholar account . My research is summarized by the following projects:

OrthographicNet: A Deep Learning Approach for 3D Object Recognition in Open-Ended Domains

We present OrthographicNet, a deep transfer learning based approach, for 3D object recognition in open-ended domains. In particular, OrthographicNet generates a rotation and scale invariant global feature for a given object, enabling to recognize the same or similar objects seen from different perspectives. Experimental results show that our approach yields significant improvements over the state-of-the-art approaches concerning scalability, memory usage and object recognition performance.

  • Preprint on arXiv (2019)
  • Demo1 --- Demo2
  • Look Further to Recognize Better: Learning Shared Topics and Category-Specific Dictionaries for Open-Ended 3D Object Recognition

    In human-centric environments, fine-grained object categorization is as essential as basic-level object categorization. In this work, each object is represented using a set of general latent topics and category-specific dictionaries. The general topics encode the common patterns of all categories, while the category-specific dictionary describes the content of each category in details. We discovered both sets of general and specific representations in an unsupervised fashion and updated them incrementally using new object views.

  • IROS2019
  • Demo1 --- Demo2
  • Interactive Open-Ended Learning Approach for Recognizing 3D Object Category and Grasp Affordance Concurrently

    This paper presents an interactive open-ended learning approach to recognize multiple objects and their grasp affordances concurrently. This is an important contribution in the field of service robots since no matter how extensive the training data used for batch learning, a robot might always be confronted with an unknown object when operating in human-centric environments. Our approach has two main branches. The first branch is related to open-ended 3D object category learning and recognition. The second branch is associated with learning and recognizing the configuration of grasps in a reasonable amount of time.

  • ICRA2019 (to appear) --- Preprint on arXiv (2019)
  • Demo1 - Demo2 - Demo3 - Demo4
  • Coping with Context Change in Open-Ended Object Recognition without Explicit Context Information

    One of the main challenges in unconstrained human environments is to cope with the effects of context change. This paper presents two main contributions: (1) an approach for evaluating open-ended object category learning and recognition methods in multi-context scenarios; (2) evaluation of different object category learning and recognition approaches regarding their ability to cope with the effects of context change.

  • IROS2018
  • Demo: multi contexts open-ended scenario
  • Perceiving, Learning, and Recognizing 3D Objects: An Approach to Cognitive Service Robots

    This paper proposes a cognitive architecture designed to create a concurrent 3D object category learning and recognition in an interactive and open-ended manner. In particular, this cognitive architecture provides automatic perception capabilities that will allow robots to detect objects in highly crowded scenes and learn new object categories from the set of accumulated experiences in an incremental and open-ended way. Moreover, it supports constructing the full model of an unknown object in an on-line manner and predicting next best view for improving object detection and manipulation performance.

  • AAAI2018
  • Demo1 --- Demo2 --- Demo3
  • Active Multi-View 6D Object Pose Estimation and Camera Motion Planning in the Crowd

    In this project, we developed a novel unsupervised Next-Best-View (NBV) prediction algorithm to improve object detection and manipulation performance. Particularly, the ability to predict the NBV point is important for mobile robots performing tasks in everyday environments. In active scenarios, whenever the robot fails to detect or manipulate objects from the current view point, it is able to predict the next best view position, goes there and captures a new scene to improve the knowledge of the environment. This may increase the object detection and manipulation performance.

  • ICCV2017-WS
  • Bin-Picking Synthetic Dataset (RGB-D)

  • Hierarchical Object Representation for OpenEnded Object Category Learning and Recognition (Local LDA)

    This paper proposes an open-ended 3D object recognition system which concurrently learns both the object categories and the statistical features for encoding objects. In particular, we propose an extension of Latent Dirichlet Allocation to learn structural semantic features (i.e. topics), from low-level feature co-occurrences, for each category independently. Moreover, topics in each category are discovered in an unsupervised fashion and are updated incrementally using new object views. In this way, the advantage of both the local hand-crafted and the structural semantic features have been considered in an efficient way.

  • NIPS2016 --- TPAMI (To appear)
  • Demo1 --- Demo2

  • GOOD: A Global Orthographic Object Descriptor for 3D Object Recognition and Manipulation

    The Global Orthographic Object Descriptor (GOOD) has been designed to be robust, descriptive and efficient to compute and use. GOOD descriptor has two outstanding characteristics: (1) Providing a good trade-off among: descriptiveness, robustness, computation time, memory usage; (2) Allowing concurrent object recognition and pose estimation for manipulation. The performance of the proposed object descriptor is compared with the main state-of-the-art descriptors. Experimental results show that the overall classification performance obtained with GOOD is comparable to the best performances obtained with the state-of-the-art descriptors. Concerning memory and computation time, GOOD clearly outperforms the other descriptors. The current implementation of GOOD descriptor supports several functionalities for 3D object recognition and object manipulation.

  • Pattern Recognition Letters --- IROS2016
  • Demo1 --- Demo2
  • Source Code (GitHub) --- Part of PCL 1.9
  • Towards Lifelong Assistive Robotics: A Tight Coupling between Object Perception and Manipulation

    In this work, we propose a cognitive architecture designed to create a tight coupling between perception and manipulation for assistive robots. This is necessary for assistive robots, not only to perform manipulation tasks in a reasonable amount of time and in an appropriate manner, but also to robustly adapt to new environments by handling new objects. In particular, this cognitive architecture provides perception capabilities that will allow robots to, incrementally learn object categories from the set of accumulated experiences and reason about how to perform complex tasks.

  • Neurocomputing Journal --- RoboCup2016 --- IROS2015
  • Demo1 --- Demo2 --- Demo3

  • Interactive Open-Ended Learning for 3D Object Recognition: An Approach and Experiments

    This work presents an efficient approach capable of learning and recognizing object categories in an interactive and open-ended manner. In particular, we mainly focus on two state-of-the-art questions: (1) How to automatically detect, conceptualize and recognize objects in 3D scenes in an open-ended manner? (2) How to acquire and use high-level knowledge obtained from the interaction with human users, namely when they provide category labels, in order to improve the system performance?

  • Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems-
    -- RAS Journal --- IROS2014
  • Demo1 --- Demo2
  • Restaurant Object Dataset v.1.0 (RGB-D)

  • Learning to Grasp Familiar Objects using Object View Recognition and Template Matching

    In this work, interactive object view learning and recognition capabilities are integrated in the process of learning and recognizing grasps. The object view recognition module uses an interactive incremental learning approach to recognize object view labels. The grasp pose learning approach uses local and global visual features of a demonstrated grasp to learn a grasp template associated with the recognized object view. A grasp distance measure based on Mahalanobis distance is used in a grasp template matching approach to recognize an appropriate grasp pose.

  • IROS2016
  • Demo1 --- Demo2
  • Face Recognition Using Single Normal Reference Image and Statistical Features (Master Thesis)

    Many types of research have been conducted to improve the accuracy of face recognition techniques. The majority of reported techniques make use of databases where a number of images are available for each person. Since collecting face samples is a challenging task, there are some face recognition methods that work based on a single sample per person (SSPP). I studied face recognition using single normal reference image and statistical features. We encoded the face information by making use of a Modular Principal Component Analysis. The nearest neighbour classifier was finally used to assess the dissimilarity between the target face and trained faces.

    Humanoid Robots (RoboCup-HL)

    After obtaining extensive knowledge about real-time intelligent robotic systems in Middle-Size League, I tried to make humanoid robots and formed two new robotic teams namely Persia and BehRobot for participating in RoboCup humanoid leagues. We worked on three different types of humanoid robots including kid-size (height = 59cm, weight = 4kg), teen-size (height = 93cm, weight = 7Kg) and adult-size (height = 155cm, weight = 11:5Kg) robots. We were one of the successful teams in the humanoid leagues and achieved several ranks in national and international competitions.

  • ICARSC2016
  • Demo1
  • Middle Size Soccer Robots (RoboCup-MSL)

    During the second year of my undergraduate program, I got familiar with RoboCup competitions. I formed a team of Middle Size Soccer Robots (RoboCup-MSL) namely ADRO in 2006. We provided five player robots and one goalkeeper robot with similar structure but equipped with some additional accessories and sensors. Through this teamwork, I took an active role in the development of the robots’ software. Furthermore, I worked on the mechanical design of the robot via Autodesk Inventor. We achieved several ranks in national and international RoboCup competitions.

  • Demo1
  • A Novel Morphological Method for Detection and Recognition of Vehicle License Plates

    License plate detection and recognition is an image-processing technique used to identify a vehicle by its license plate. This notable technology has got multiple applications in various traffic and security cases. This study presented a novel method of identifying and recognizing license plates based on the morphology and template matching. The algorithm started with preprocessing and signal conditioning. Next license plate is localized using morphological operators. Then a template matching scheme will be used to recognize the digits and characters within the plate.

  • American Journal of Applied Sciences -
    -- EISIC2011
  • Iranian Car Plate Dataset v.1.0 (RGB)

  • Open Positions & Students

    If you are interested in doing your Bachelor/Master/PhD thesis in one of the above areas, or working on a project with me, please send me an e-mail including:

    • Short CV
    • Short motivation letter

    The motivation letter should state (½ - 1 page):

    • Topics that you are interested in
    • Type of project (theoretical/applied)
    • Intended starting date
    • Your relevant experiences

    Master Students

    • Mario Rios-Munoz (Jan.2019 ~)
    • Learning to Grasp: A Deep Learning Approach to Generalized Robust Grasp Affordance
    Project Page
    • Yikun Li (Jan.2019 ~)
    • Learning to Detect Grasp Affordances of 3D Objects using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks
    Project Page

    Bachelor Students

    • Sandra Bedrossian (Jan.2019 ~)
    • Vehicle License Plate Detection and Recognition using Color and Edge Information
    Project Page
    • Plamen Dragiyski (Jan.2019 ~)
    • Next-Best-View Prediction for Mobile Robots: Should Robots Look Further to Recognize Better?
    Project Page

    Contact

    Dr. Hamidreza Kasaei
    Artificial Intelligence Department,
    University of Groningen,
    Bernoulliborg building,
    Nijenborgh 9 9747 AG Groningen,
    The Netherlands.
    Office: 350
    Tel: +31-50-363-2765
    E-mail: hamidreza.kasaei@rug.nl