SAPHARI - Safe and Autonomous Physical Human-Aware Robot Interaction - 4. Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)
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IP 287513
call FP7-ICT-2011-7
SAPHARI is funded under the European Community's 7th Framework Programme

4. Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

The Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) is a Research Foundation, founded in 2006, to promote scientific excellence in “Humanoid” technology with a focus of 4 key technological platforms (Neurosciences, Nanobiotechnologies, Drug Discovery Development and Robotics). The Institute currently has over 600 researchers with over 160 working exclusively in the area of robotics. The humanoid robot iCub is “manufactured” at IIT. The Department of Advanced Robotics comprises more than 70 staff at all research levels from Ph.d (17) to Full Professors (4). Research activities in the department concentrate on an innovative, often biologically inspired, multidisciplinary approach to humanoid design and control, and the development of novel robotic components and technologies. It combines activities from both the hard (mechanical/ electrical design and fabrication, sensor systems, actuation development etc.) and soft (control, computer software, human factors etc) systems areas of robotics. While mimicking biological principles does not necessarily lead to the development of optimal systems the core departmental philosophy is that the merging of multiple, diverse technologies will facilitate a transition from traditional (hard-bodied) robots towards a new generation of hybrid systems combining engineering principles such as speed, robustness, accuracy, and endurance with biologically inspired concepts that aim to emulate the ’softer’ compliant structure of muscle, bone, tendons and skin to provide robots with the capacity for self-repair, regeneration, redundancy etc. It is believed that this synergetic combination will lead to new advanced; Actuation and Energy/Power Systems, Interfaces and Interaction Technologies, Sensing, Intelligence and Control, and Structures, Materials and Mechanisms.

The research activity at the department of Advanced Robotics in IIT has been funded through a number of projects supported by the EU. Some of the most recent include the two IP project OCTOPUS (FET) and AMARSI and the FET STREP project VIACTORS.

Key researchers

Darwin G. CALDWELL (http://www.iit.it/en/about-us/organisation/research-structure/darwin-caldwell.html) is a Director at the Italian Institute of Technology and a Visiting/Honorary Professor at the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Wales, Bangor. His research interests include innovative actuators and sensors, haptic feedback, force augmentation exoskeletons, dextrous manipulators, humanoid robotics, bipedal and quadrupled robots (iCub), biomimetic systems, rehabilitation robotics, telepresence and teleoperation procedures, and robotics and automation systems for the food industry. He is the author or co-author of over 2o0 academic papers, 10 patents and has received awards at several international conference and events including, ICRA, IROS, ICAR, IAV and Virtual Concepts. He is a past chair of the UKRI region of the IEEE (Robotics and Automation Society) and the IEE Robotic and Intelligent Systems PN. He is on the editorial board of IEEE Trans on Mechatronics, Journal for Robots, International Journal of Social Robotics and Industrial Robot. Prof Caldwell has been on the organizing or programme committee of over 60 international conferences.

Nikos TSAGARAKIS (http://www.iit.it/en/advanced-robotics/people.html?view=profile&layout=profile&id=150) received his degree in Electrical and Computer Science Engineering from Aristotle University in Greece, an M.Sc degree in Control Engineering in 1997 and in 2000 a PhD in Robotics from the University of Salford, UK. Before becoming a Senior Researcher at IIT with overall responsibility for Humanoid Design (iCub) and subsequently (cCub) he was Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Robotics and Automation at the University of Salford where he worked on haptic systems, wearable exoskeletons, humanoids robots and actuation systems. Other research interests include rehabilitation robotics, dextrous hands and force/tactile sensing. He has authored more than 90 papers in research journals and at international conferences. He has 5 patents and received the 2009 PE Publishing Award from the Journal of Systems and Control Engineering and prizes for Best Paper at ICAR (2003) and was a finalist for Best Entertainment Robots and Systems - 20th Anniversary Award at IROS 2007. He has been on the programme Committee of over 20 international conferences including ICRA, IROS and BioRob.

Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics (DLR)