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The ability to place objects in an environment is an important skill for a personal robot. An object should not only be placed stably, but should also be placed in its preferred location/orientation. For instance, it is preferred that a plate be inserted vertically into the slot of a dish-rack as compared to being placed horizontally in it. Unstructured environments such as homes have a large variety of object types as well as of placing areas. Therefore our algorithms should be able to handle placing new object types and new placing areas. These reasons make placing a challenging manipulation task. In this work, we propose using a supervised learning approach for finding good placements given point-clouds of the object and the placing area. Our method combines the features that capture support, stability and preferred configurations, and uses a shared sparsity structure in its the parameters. Even when neither the object nor the placing area is seen previously in the training set, our learning algorithm predicts good placements. In robotic experiments, our method enables the robot to stably place known objects with a 98% success rate and 98% when also considering semantically preferred orientations. In the case of placing a new object into a new placing area, the success rate is 82% and 72%.

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