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When humans see a scene, they can roughly imagine the forces applied to objects based on their experience and use them to handle the objects properly. This paper considers transferring this “force-visualization” ability to robots. We hypothesize that a rough force distribution (named “force map”) can be utilized for object manipulation strategies even if accurate force estimation is impossible. Based on this hypothesis, we propose a training method to predict the force map from vision. To investigate this hypothesis, we generated scenes where objects were stacked in bulk through simulation and trained a model to predict the contact force from a single image. We further applied domain randomization to make the trained model function on real images. The experimental results showed that the model trained using only synthetic images could predict approximate patterns representing the contact areas of the objects even for real images. Then, we designed a simple algorithm to plan a lifting direction using the predicted force distribution. We confirmed that using the predicted force distribution contributes to finding natural lifting directions for typical real-world scenes. Furthermore, the evaluation through simulations showed that the disturbance caused to surrounding objects was reduced by 26 % (translation displacement) and by 39 % (angular displacement) for scenes where objects were overlapping.


Predicted Force Maps


Planned Lifting Directions from the Predicted Force Maps


Lifting in a Planned Direction



  title={Force Map: Learning to Predict Contact Force Distribution from Vision},
  author={Ryo Hanai and Yukiyasu Domae and Ixchel G. Ramirez-Alpizar and Bruno Leme and Tetsuya Ogata},
  journal={arXiv preprint arXiv:2304.05803v1},


We would like to thank Natsuki Yamanobe and Abdullah Mustafa of AIST for their useful discussions. This work was supported by JST [Moonshot R&D][Grant Number JPMJMS2031]. moonshot_logo