Nikhil Chavan-Dafle

Enabling robots to interact with the world.


  🧠 AI & Robotics 🤖

 Samsung AI | MIT | CMU

My work focuses on building scene understanding and manipulation dexterity for robotics applications. These versatile and robust skills will soon allow us to deploy cognizant robots in factories, warehouses, and fields, and even helping us in our homes, hospitals, and public spaces.

At Samsung AI, I lead a team of researchers and engineers to develop perception technologies for robot behaviors. I completed my PhD from MIT and masters from Carnegie Mellon, where I built expertise in manipulation planning, reactive control, and robot learning. I was responsible for grasp and motion planning for MIT’s Amazon Robotics Challenge winning team. My work has received Best Student Paper award at RSS 2018, Amazon Robotics Best Systems Paper Award in Manipulation, and Best Video Award Finalist at ICRA 2014.


Jan 29, 2024 All 1, 2, 3 papers of my team are accepted to ICRA 2024 :clap:
Dec 12, 2023 Our work on zero-shot scene reconstruction using large VLM was granted a Strategically Important Patent :bulb:
Nov 18, 2023 Introducing FineControlNet - our work on Conditional Gen-AI:sparkles:
Oct 31, 2023 Our work on improved LiDAR map generation was approved for Tech Transfer :rocket:

selected publications

  1. viola.gif
    VioLA: Aligning Videos to 2D LiDAR Scans
    Jun-Jee Chao, Selim Engin, Nikhil Chavan-Dafle, and 2 more authors
    ICRA, 2024
  2. scene_grasp.gif
    Real-time Simultaneous Multi-Object 3D Shape Reconstruction, 6DoF Pose Estimation and Dense Grasp Prediction
    Shubham Agrawal, Nikhil Chavan-Dafle, Isaac Kasahara, and 3 more authors
    IROS, 2023
  3. simple_kitting.gif
    simPLE: a Visuotactile Method Learned in Simulation to Precisely Pick, Localize, Regrasp, and Place Objects
    Maria Bauza, Antonia Bronars, Yifan Hou, and 3 more authors
    Science Robotics, 2024
  4. shellgrasp.gif
    Simultaneous Object Reconstruction and Grasp Prediction using a Camera-centric Object Shell Representation
    Nikhil Chavan-Dafle, Sergiy Popovych, Shubham Agrawal, and 2 more authors
    IROS, 2022
  5. mcone_ijrr.gif
    Planar In-hand Manipulation via Motion Cones
    Nikhil Chavan-Dafle, Rachel Holladay, and Alberto Rodriguez
    IJRR [Invited Paper | RSS 2018 Best Student Paper Award], 2020
  6. arc.png
    Robotic Pick-and-Place of Novel Objects in Clutter with Multi-Affordance Grasping and Cross-Domain Image Matching
    Andy Zeng, Shuran Song, Kuan-Ting Yu, and 18 more authors
    IJRR [Amazon Robotics Best Systems Paper Award in Manipulation], 2019
  7. extdex.png
    Extrinsic Dexterity: In-hand Manipulation with External Forces
    Nikhil Chavan-Dafle, Alberto Rodriguez, Robert Paolini, and 7 more authors
    ICRA [Best Research Video Award Finalist], 2014