Dynamic Manipulation of Deformable Objects with Implicit Integration

Simon Zimmermann, Roi Poranne, Stelian Coros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to their complex dynamics and high-dimensional configuration spaces, non-rigid objects such as cables, garments, bedding and various food items remain notoriously challenging for robots to manipulate effectively. In this letter, we therefore develop, validate and analyze model-based optimal control techniques for dynamic manipulation of deformable objects. We study, in particular, the application of both the batch Newton method and the stagewise Differential Dynamic Programming (DDP) approach to this challenging problem domain. On a technical level, we derive analytic formulations for all necessary derivatives, noting that numerically stable simulation of deformable objects demands implicit integration schemes, which do not have closed form solutions. While both DDP and Newton's method converge quadratically, our experiments and analysis show that the relative overall performance of these two approaches depends heavily on the dimensions of the control problems being solved. We demonstrate the efficacy of our trajectory optimization formulations through a variety of simulation and real-world experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9380919
Pages (from-to)4209-4216
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IEEE.


  • Motion planning
  • trajectory optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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