Dr Joao Moura

Research project title: 
Learning and Controlling Constrained Motions for Manipulation with Contacts
Principal goal for project: 
Studying appropriate formulations for both the simultaneous position/force control of robot manipulators and for learning unconstrained null space policies that generalize across different constraints.
Research project: 

In contrast with many robotic applications where the environment poses an obstacle to the robot, in some tasks we require the robot to be in contact with it while executing a desired motion. That interaction imposes a constraint to the robot motion and, therefore, we need to consider it when controlling robots or when learning those motions from demonstration. This project addresses two sides of constrained manipulation motions. In the first we look at how can we learn/unveil an underlying motion policy, given a set of demonstrations performed under different constraints; and in the second we analyze two important motion descriptions commonly applied in rigid-body dynamic controllers. By drawing a parallel between contact constraints and motion tasks, we prove the equivalence of those two motion descriptions.


  • João Moura, Mustafa Suphi Erden. Formulation of a control and path planning approach for a cab front cleaning robot . In Procedia CIRP, volume 59, pages 67–71, 5th International Conference on Through-life Engineering Services (TESConf), 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.procir.2016.09.024.
  • Leopoldo Armesto, João Moura, Vladimir Ivan, Antonio Salas, and Sethu Vijayakumar. Learning constrained generalizable policies by demonstration. In Robotics: Science and Systems XIII (RSS), 2017, DOI: 10.15607/RSS.2017.XIII.036.
  • Leopoldo Armesto, João Moura, Vladimir Ivan, Mustafa Suphi Erden, Antonio Salas, and Sethu Vijayakumar. Constraint-aware Learning of Policies by Demonstration. In International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR), 2018.
  • João Moura, William Mccoll, Gerard Taykaldiranian, Tetsuo Tomiyama, Mustafa Suphi Erden. Automating Train Cab Front Cleaning with a Robot Manipulator. In IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2018. (selected for presentation at the 14th IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering - CASE)
  • João Moura, Vladimir Ivan, Mustafa Suphi Erden, and Sethu Vijayakumar. Equivalence of the Projected Forward Dynamics and the Dynamically Consistent Inverse Solution. In Robotics: Science and Systems XV (R:SS), 2019, DOI: 10.15607/RSS.2019.XV.036. [Best Paper Award Finalist]
About me: 

I hold an Integrated Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Aveiro, Portugal. I worked for a year at Bosch Thermotecnology, Aveiro, Portugal. As a developer engineering I helped develop the control system of a gas water heater appliance and supported its industrialisation. I worked for a year and half in the CROB (Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems) at INESC TEC, Porto, Portugal. As a researcher I provided technical support to ongoing projects such as the European project - ICARUS. I was a teaching assistant at Aveiro University for Servomechanisms and Industrial Robotics master courses. My current research interests include learning by demonstration for constrained tasks, control and learning of interaction forces between robots and their environment, and developing rigid-body dynamic models for constrained motions.