Spatio-Temporal Motion Retargeting for Quadruped Robots

Taerim Yoon,Dongho Kang, Seungmin Kim, Minsung Ahn,Stelian Coros,Sungjoon Choi


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This work introduces a motion retargeting approach for legged robots, which aims to create motion controllers that imitate the fine behavior of animals. Our approach, namely spatio-temporal motion retargeting (STMR), guides imitation learning procedures by transferring motion from source to target, effectively bridging the morphological disparities by ensuring the feasibility of imitation on the target system. Our STMR method comprises two components: spatial motion retargeting (SMR) and temporal motion retargeting (TMR). On the one hand, SMR tackles motion retargeting at the kinematic level by generating kinematically feasible whole-body motions from keypoint trajectories. On the other hand, TMR aims to retarget motion at the dynamic level by optimizing motion in the temporal domain. We showcase the effectiveness of our method in facilitating Imitation Learning (IL) for complex animal movements through a series of simulation and hardware experiments. In these experiments, our STMR method successfully tailored complex animal motions from various media, including video captured by a hand-held camera, to fit the morphology and physical properties of the target robots. This enabled RL policy training for precise motion tracking, while baseline methods struggled with highly dynamic motion involving flying phases. Moreover, we validated that the control policy can successfully imitate six different motions in two quadruped robots with different dimensions and physical properties in real-world settings.
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