Robotics: Science and Systems XVI

Learning Labeled Robot Affordance Models Using Simulations and Crowdsourcing

Adam Allevato, Elaine Short, Mitch Pryor, Andrea Thomaz


Affordance models are widely used in robotics to represent a robot's possible interactions with its environment. However, robot affordance models are inherently quantitative, making them difficult for humans to understand and interact with. To address this problem, previous works have constructed affordance models by grounding (connecting) them to natural language, but primarily used expert-defined actions, effects, or labels to do so. In this paper, we use short text responses provided by humans and simple randomized robot manipulation actions to construct a labeled affordance model that defines a relationship between English-language labels and robots' internal affordance representations. We first collect label data from a combination of crowdsourced real-world human-robot interactions and online user studies. We then use this data to train classifiers predicting whether or not a particular quantitative affordance will receive a specific label from a person, achieving an average affordance prediction score of 0.87 (area under Receiver Operating Characteristic curve). Our results also show that labels are more accurately predicted by affordance effects than affordance actions---a result that has been hypothesized in prior work but has never been directly tested. Finally, we develop a technique for automatically constructing a hierarchy of labels from crowdsourced data, discovering structure within the learned labels and suggesting the existence of a more universal set of affordance primitives.



    AUTHOR    = {Adam Allevato AND Elaine Short AND Mitch Pryor AND Andrea Thomaz}, 
    TITLE     = {{Learning Labeled Robot Affordance Models Using Simulations and Crowdsourcing}}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2020}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Corvalis, Oregon, USA}, 
    MONTH     = {July}, 
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2020.XVI.037}