Stabilize to Act: Learning to Coordinate for Bimanual ManipulationDownload PDF

Published: 30 Aug 2023, Last Modified: 03 Jul 2024CoRL 2023 OralReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Bimanual Manipulation, Learning from Demonstrations, Deformable Object Manipulation
TL;DR: We present a system for bimanual manipulation that coordinates by assigning roles to arms: a stabilizing arm holds an object stationary while an acting arm acts in this simplified environment.
Abstract: Key to rich, dexterous manipulation in the real world is the ability to coordinate control across two hands. However, while the promise afforded by bimanual robotic systems is immense, constructing control policies for dual arm autonomous systems brings inherent difficulties. One such difficulty is the high-dimensionality of the bimanual action space, which adds complexity to both model-based and data-driven methods. We counteract this challenge by drawing inspiration from humans to propose a novel role assignment framework: a stabilizing arm holds an object in place to simplify the environment while an acting arm executes the task. We instantiate this framework with BimanUal Dexterity from Stabilization (BUDS), which uses a learned restabilizing classifier to alternate between updating a learned stabilization position to keep the environment unchanged, and accomplishing the task with an acting policy learned from demonstrations. We evaluate BUDS on four bimanual tasks of varying complexities on real-world robots, such as zipping jackets and cutting vegetables. Given only 20 demonstrations, BUDS achieves 76.9% task success across our task suite, and generalizes to out-of-distribution objects within a class with a 52.7% success rate. BUDS is 56.0% more successful than an unstructured baseline that instead learns a BC stabilizing policy due to the precision required of these complex tasks. Supplementary material and videos can be found at
Student First Author: yes
Supplementary Material: zip
Instructions: I have read the instructions for authors (
Publication Agreement: pdf
Community Implementations: [![CatalyzeX](/images/catalyzex_icon.svg) 1 code implementation](
13 Replies