Anytime, Anywhere: Human Arm Pose From Smartwatch Data for Ubiquitous Robot Control and Teleoperation

Fabian C Weigend, Shubham Sonawani, Michael Drolet, Heni Ben Amor

Nominated for the RoboCup Best Paper Award! (Top 6% of IROS23)

This work devises an optimized machine learning approach for human arm pose estimation from a single smartwatch. Our approach results in a distribution of possible wrist and elbow positions, which allows for a measure of uncertainty and the detection of multiple possible arm posture solutions, i.e., multimodal pose distributions. Combining estimated arm postures with speech recognition, we turn the smartwatch into a ubiquitous, low-cost and versatile robot control interface. We demonstrate in two use-cases that this intuitive control interface enables users to swiftly intervene in robot behavior, to temporarily adjust their goal, or to train completely new control policies by imitation. Extensive experiments show that the approach results in a 40% reduction in prediction error over the current state-of-the-art and achieves a mean error of 2.56 cm for wrist and elbow positions. The code is available at