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Workshop: Intrinsically Motivated Open-ended Learning (IMOL) Workshop

FOCUS: Object-Centric World Models for Robotic Manipulation

Stefano Ferraro · Pietro Mazzaglia · Tim Verbelen · Bart Dhoedt

Keywords: [ World Models ] [ object-centric representation ] [ RL ]


Understanding the world in terms of objects and the possible interactions with them is an important cognition ability, especially in robotic manipulation. However, learning a structured world model that allows controlling the agent accurately remains a challenge. To address this, we propose FOCUS, a model-based agent that learns an object-centric world model. The learned representation makes it possible to provide the agent with an object-centric exploration mechanism, which encourages the agent to interact with objects and discover useful interactions. We apply FOCUS in several robotic manipulation settings where we show how our method fosters interactions such as reaching, moving, and rotating the objects in the environment. We further show how this ability to autonomously interact with objects can be used to quickly solve a given task using reinforcement learning with sparse rewards.

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