Visual Foresight Tree for Object Retrieval from Clutter with Nonprehensile Rearrangement [article]

Baichuan Huang, Shuai D. Han, Jingjin Yu, Abdeslam Boularias
2021 arXiv   pre-print
This paper considers the problem of retrieving an object from many tightly packed objects using a combination of robotic pushing and grasping actions. Object retrieval in dense clutter is an important skill for robots to operate in households and everyday environments effectively. The proposed solution, Visual Foresight Tree (VFT), intelligently rearranges the clutter surrounding a target object so that it can be grasped easily. Rearrangement with nested nonprehensile actions is challenging as
more » ... t requires predicting complex object interactions in a combinatorially large configuration space of multiple objects. We first show that a deep neural network can be trained to accurately predict the poses of the packed objects when the robot pushes one of them. The predictive network provides visual foresight and is used in a tree search as a state transition function in the space of scene images. The tree search returns a sequence of consecutive push actions yielding the best arrangement of the clutter for grasping the target object. Experiments in simulation and using a real robot and objects show that the proposed approach outperforms model-free techniques as well as model-based myopic methods both in terms of success rates and the number of executed actions, on several challenging tasks. A video introducing VFT, with robot experiments, is accessible at The full source code is available at
arXiv:2105.02857v2 fatcat:lfmfxh7e4navdnudnzak2oxt6i