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---------- PRELIMINARY ----------
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---------- CALL FOR PARTICIPATION ----------
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---------- "Toward Physical Interaction and Manipulation" ----------
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---------- AAAI SPRING SYMPOSIUM SERIES ----------
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---------- STANFORD CALIFORNIA ----------
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---------- MARCH 21-23, 1994 ----------
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We are delighted to invite contributions for the 1994 AAAI Spring
symposium: "Toward physical interaction and manipulation" to be held
on the campus of Stanford University, March 21-23, 1994.


The range and scope of practical robotics applications depends
critically on the ability of robots to physically interact with their
environments. Current applications are highly specialized, and
typically they involve carefully controlled, well understood
workspaces with little or no sensory feedback. Construction costs and
inflexibility limit the economic viability of these systems. The
general manipulation skills of humans and other animals contrasts
starkly with the current capabilities of robots. From threading a
needle, to opening a door, to catching a ball, to moving a sofa, we
engage our environments in myriad ways. Unlike most current robots,
we rely upon rich sources of sensory feedback to cope with
uncertainties in our varied world.

The purpose of this workshop is to draw together researchers from a
range of disciplines to study the principles of physical interaction
and manipulation. The goal is to consider theories, paradigms, and
ontologies for both natural and artificial systems, and to develop
generally useful concepts, architectures, and algorithms for building
and describing them.

The approach is to select in advance a set of tasks that range in
difficulty and span a number of research issues. Each prospective
participant is to develop conceptual designs for one or more of these
tasks prior to the workshop. It is acceptable for designs to be
speculative, as we encourage creative solutions. However, the aim is
to examine tasks in detail and sketch complete systems. At the
workshop, selected designs will be presented, discussed, and compared
in an attempt to reach a more general understanding. By analyzing a
range of tasks, we aim to broaden our perspective, identifying common
themes and useful design principles. The rationale for this format is
that participants will be well prepared for the discussions by
thinking in detail about some of these tasks in advance. The list of
candidate tasks follows:

- make a cup of coffee
- fry and serve an egg
- prepare buttered toast
- play catch
- insert and play a video tape
- vacuum/mop the floor or mow the lawn
- dig a hole/trench
- (un)lock a door with a key
- open, pass through, and close a door
- feed someone using a fork, knife, spoon, cup, etc.
- retrieve a screwdriver from the toolbox in the garage.
- fold clothes
- move large objects (boxes, chairs, furniture)

These activities involve a range of skills and will most likely
require a range of mechanisms. They can be characterized by their
requirements for:

- real-time dynamics
- ballistic vs. servo control
- timed control
- position/orientation/velocity/force control
- tool usage & action at a distance
- multiple temporal phases
- sensor modalities (e.g., visual, haptic)
- compliance
- constraints on the workspace/environment

Participants should attempt to characterize their tasks and designs
according to these (and other) features to facilitate comparison.

SUBMISSION & PREPARATION: Potential participants should submit a short
description of their background and research interests along with
designs and analyses for individual tasks. To improve the depth and
quality of the designs, participants are encouraged to work in teams,
especially in collaborations that combine complementary expertise. Of
course, demonstrations of working systems, including simulations and
videos, are encouraged. Send submissions to either:

Steven Whitehead
GTE Laboratories Incorporated swhitehead@gte.com
40 Sylvan Rd. phone: (617) 466-2193
Waltham, MA 02254 FAX: (617) 890-9320


David Coombs
Natl Inst of Stds and Tech (NIST) coombs@cme.nist.gov
Robot Systems Division
Building 220, Room B-124 phone: (301) 975-2865
Gaithersburg, MD 20899 USA FAX: (301) 990-9688

Emilio Bizzi, MIT; Jon Connell, IBM Watson; David Coombs, NIST,
co-chair, (coombs@cme.nist.gov); Ken Goldberg, USC; Rod Grupen, UMass;
Stan Rosenschein, Teleos Research; Steven Whitehead, GTE Labs,
co-chair, (swhitehead@gte.com);


Submissions due: October 15, 1993
Notification of acceptance: November 15, 1993
Final registration deadline: March 1, 1994
Spring symposium: March 21-23, 1994