Utah Learning Lab for Manipulation Autonomy

Welcome to the Utah Learning Lab for Manipulation Autonomy–the LL4MA Lab–directed by professor Tucker Hermans. We are affiliated with the University of Utah Robotics Center, the School of Computing, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah.

Our research focuses on autonomous learning, planning, and perception for robot manipulation. We are particularly interested in enabling robots to autonomously discover and manipulate objects with which they have no previous knowledge or experience.

For more information about specific research efforts check out our projects and publications.

If you are a student interested in working with us, please read this prior to contacting Prof. Hermans.


  • April 1, 2021: Amir will be General Chair of HRI Pioneers 2022!
  • February 28, 2021: Paper Accepted to ICRA 2021: “Risk-Aware Decision Making for Service Robots to Minimize Risk of Patient Falls in Hospitals”; Roya Sabbagh Novin, Amir Yazdani, Andrew Merryweather, Tucker Hermans. arXiv/pdf
  • February 16, 2021: Tucker received a 2021 Sloan Fellowship. College of Engineering Article
  • December 18, 2020: Paper Published in IJRR: “A Model Predictive Approach for Online Mobile Manipulation of Nonholonomic Objects using Learned Dynamics”; Roya Sabbagh Novin, Amir Yazdani, Andrew Merryweather and Tucker Hermans. PDF
  • December 4, 2020: Roya successfully defended her PhD! Congratulations Dr. Sabbagh Novin!
  • November 12, 2020: Paper Accepted to International Conference on Operations Research and Enterprise Systems (ICORES) 2021: “Optimizing Hospital Room Layout to Reduce the Risk of Patient Falls”; Sarvenaz Chaeibakhsh, Roya Sabbagh Novin, Tucker Hermans, Andrew Merryweather, and Alan Kuntz. [pdf coming soon!]
  • November 5, 2020: Tucker presented at the iCub Robotics Seminar at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT).
  • October 26, 2020: Paper Accepted to PLOS ONE: “Replicating dynamic humerus motion using an industrial robot”; Klevis Aliaj, Gentry Feeney, Balakumar Sundaralingam, Tucker Hermans, K. Bo Foremen, Kent N Bachus, Heath B. Henninger. [pdf coming soon!]
  • October 21, 2020: Paper Accepted to IEEE Transactions on Robotics: “In-Hand Object-Dynamics Inference using Tactile Fingertips”; Balakumar Sundaralingam and Tucker Hermans preprint.
  • October 19, 2020: College of Engineering story on Roya's fall risk work.
  • Aug 28, 2020: Paper Accepted to Health Environments Research & Design Journal (HERD): “Development of a Novel Computational Model for Evaluating Fall Risk in Patient Room Design”; Roya Sabbagh Novin, Ellen Taylor, Tucker Hermans, Andrew Merryweather. PDF
  • Aug 6, 2020: Michael Bentley won a 2020 DDS&T Excellence in Publication Award in the Student Category for the work on the FLiT system he did at LLNL! Congratulations Mike!
  • July 29, 2020: Tucker gave a talk titled “Can common sense guide autonomous robot learning and exploration?” at the CogSci 2020 workshop on the Origins of Commonsense. video
  • June 30, 2020: Paper accepted to IROS 2020: “Multi-Fingered Active Grasp Learning”; Qingkai Lu, Mark Van der Merwe, and Tucker Hermans. preprint
  • June 29, 2020: Paper conditionally accepted to TRO: “In-Hand Object-Dynamics Inference using Tactile Fingertips”; Balakumar Sundaralingam and Tucker Hermans. preprint
  • June 10, 2020: Paper Accepted to ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC): “Autonomous Light Assessment Drone for Dark Skies Studies”; Matthew N. Goodell, Takara E. Truong, Stephanie R. Marston, Brett J. Smiley, Elliot R. Befus, Alex Bingham, Kent Allen, Joseph R. Bourne, Yi Wei, Kate E. Magargal, Vellachi Ganesan, Daniel L. Mendoza, Anil C. Seth, Stacy A. Harwood, Marc Bodson, Tucker Hermans and Kam K. Leang
  • May 28, 2020: Tucker presented at the UCSD Robotics Seminar.
  • April 16, 2020: Qingkai successfully defended his PhD! Congratulations Dr. Lu!
  • April 13, 2020: Our improved BioTac force estimation model is now public: repo
  • March 31, 2020: Mark Van der Merwe received an NSF GRFP Award!
  • March 23, 2020: Bala successfully defended his PhD! Congratulations Dr. Sundaralingam!
  • March 14, 2020: Paper Accepted to IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering: Katharin Jensen-Nau, Tucker Hermans, and Kam K. Leang. “Near-Optimal Area-Coverage Path Planning of Energy Constrained Aerial Robots with Application in Autonomous Environmental Monitoring.”
  • February 20, 2020: Paper Accepted to IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine: “Multi-Fingered Grasp Planning via Inference in Deep Neural Networks”; Qingkai Lu, Mark Van der Merwe, Balakumar Sundaralingam, and Tucker Hermans. arxiv/pdf
  • January 24, 2020: Tucker presented at the University of Michigan Robotics Seminar. video
  • January 22, 2020: Paper Accepted to ICRA 2020, "Learning Continuous 3D Reconstructions for Geometrically Aware Grasping"; Mark Van der Merwe, Qingkai Lu, Balakumar Sundaralingam, Martin Matak, and Tucker Hermans. arxiv/pdf