Calinon Sylvain Calinon (IDIAP/Switzerland)

Acquisition of robot skills from human demonstration

Abstract: With the evolution of robotics, many applications would benefit from the development of robots that can acquire new movements and skills from human demonstration, and that can reproduce these movements in new situations. Such learning and adaptation challenges require: 1) the development of intuitive interfaces to acquire meaningful demonstrations; 2) the development of movement primitive representations that can exploit the structure and geometry of the acquired data in an efficient way; 3) the development of control techniques that can exploit the possible variations and coordinations in the movement. Moreover, the developed models need to serve several purposes (recognition, prediction, generation), and be compatible with different learning strategies (imitation, exploration). I will present an approach combining model predictive control, statistical learning and differential geometry to achieve such goal. I will illustrate the proposed approach with various human-robot interaction applications, including robots that are close to us (human-robot collaboration, robot for dressing assistance), part of us (interaction with prosthetic hand), or far from us (shared control of teleoperated bimanual robot in deep water).

Bio: Dr Sylvain Calinon is a permanent senior researcher at the Idiap Research Institute (, with research interests covering robot learning and human-robot interaction. He is also a lecturer at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), and an external collaborator at the Department of Advanced Robotics (ADVR), Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). From 2009 to 2014, he was a Team Leader at ADVR, IIT. From 2007 to 2009, he was a Postdoc at the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory, EPFL, where he obtained his PhD in 2007. He is the author of 100+ publications and a book in the field of robot learning and human-robot interaction, with recognition including Best Paper Awards in the journal of Intelligent Service Robotics (2017) and at IEEE Ro-Man'2007, as well as Best Paper Award Finalist at ICRA'2016, ICIRA'2015, IROS'2013 and Humanoids'2009. He currently serves as Associate Editor in IEEE Transactions on Robotics (T-RO), IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), Intelligent Service Robotics (Springer), and Frontiers in Robotics and AI.