StructDiffusion: Language-Guided
Creation of Physically-Valid Structures
using Unseen Objects

Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) 2023

1Georgia Tech, 2MIT, 3University of Utah, 4NVIDIA, 5Meta AI


Robots operating in human environments must be able to rearrange objects into semantically-meaningful configurations, even if these objects are previously unseen. We focus on the problem of building physically-valid structures without step-by-step instructions.

We propose StructDiffusion, which combines a diffusion model and an object-centric transformer to construct structures given partial-view point clouds and high-level language goals, such as "set the table" and "make a line".

StructDiffusion improves success rate on assembling physically-valid structures out of unseen objects by on average 16% over an existing multi-modal transformer model, while allowing us to use one multi-task model to produce a wider range of different structures. We show experiments on held-out objects in both simulation and on real-world rearrangement tasks.



Building structures requires models that can reason about different constraints over where objects should be at once (e.g., object geometry, language-driven task semantics, physics) and generate solutions that respect all these constraints.

StructDiffusion consists of: (1) an object-centric, language-conditioned diffusion model, which learns how to construct different types of multi-object structures from observations of novel objects and language instructions, and (2) a learned discriminator, which drastically improves performance by rejecting samples violating physical constraints.

Generating Diverse Goals with Object-Centric Diffusion

We use unknown object instance segmentation to break our scene up into objects, as per prior work (e.g., [1], [2], [3]). Then, we use a multi-modal transformer to combine both word tokens and object encodings from Point Cloud Transformer in order to make 6-DoF goal pose predictions.


Our diffusion model is integrated with a transformer model that maintains an individual attention stream for each object. This object-centric approach allows us to focus on learning the interactions between objects based on their geometric features as well as the grounding of abstract concepts on spatio-semantic relations between objects (e.g., large, circle, top).


We start from the last step of the reverse diffusion process and jointly predict goal poses for all objects in the scene. This allows our model to reason about object-object interactions in a generalizable way, which outperforms simply predicting goal poses from multi-modal inputs.

Real-World Rearrangements


    title     = {StructDiffusion: Language-Guided Creation of Physically-Valid Structures using Unseen Objects},
    author    = {Liu, Weiyu and Du, Yilun and Hermans, Tucker and Chernova, Sonia and Paxton, Chris},
    year      = {2023},
    booktitle = {RSS 2023}