Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

on Friday, 18 November 2011. Posted in Consortium Beneficiaries

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia 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.


  • Advanced Robotics Department - ADVR

Main tasks:

  • Project Leader
  • Leader of WP1– Coordination
  • Leader of WP8 – Teleoperation and Automation Systems
  • Leader of WP11 – Integration
  • Leader of WP13 – Dissemination & Exploitation

Role of the Partner:

As the project coordinator, the IIT will be responsible for the project management, dissemination of knowledge, and exploitation of research results. For this, the IIT will benefit from the vast experience in European projects of its collaborators. The ADVR department has been funded through a number of projects supported by the EU. Some of the most recent include the two IP projects OCTOPUS and AMARSI, and the STREP project VIACTORS.

The IIT will focus research efforts on the development of teleoperation and automation systems for microsurgeries, and on the integration of the new multitude of subsystems through a simple and intuitive user interface. This part of the research will benefit from previous work in biomanipulations, including research on novel user interfaces and systems for safe and efficient microinjection of neurons and early embryos. In addition, the IIT has been conducting preliminary research on robotic systems for assistive laser phonomicrosurgery through an active collaboration with UNIGE, which will provide a head-start in establishing surgical requirements and specifications that will guide the technical developments within µRALP.

Additionally, the IIT will be highly involved on experimentation, testing and evaluations during the project progress, which will again benefit from its prior work in laser microsurgeries. In this case, the IIT will make available a CO2 surgical laser system and a motorized laser micromanipulator prototype for initial experimentations and data acquisition and early evaluations of new systems such as user interfaces and AR system prototypes.

Furthermore, the IIT will be involved on the research and development of µRALP's cognitive supervisory safety system, which will benefit from know-how it's been building in this area especially in relation to the iCUB project.

Key researchers:

Leonardo S. MATTOS (B.Sc 1998, M.Sc 2003, Ph.D 2007) is currently a Team Leader at the IIT, where he has been a researcher since 2007. His research background includes micromanipulation, systems integration, development of user interfaces and systems for safe and efficient teleoperation, robotic surgery, computer vision, adaptive controllers and automation. Leonardo received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the North Carolina State University (NCSU, USA), where he worked as research assistant at the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (CRIM) from 2002 until 2007. Leonardo has been working on assistive robotic systems for phonomicrosurgery since mid 2009.

Darwin G. CALDWELL (B.Sc 1986, M.Sc 1990, Ph.D 1996) is Director of the Advanced Robotics Dept. at the IIT and a Visiting/Honorary Professor at the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Wales( Bangor) and King‟s College London. His research background includes innovative actuators and sensors, haptic feedback, force augmentation exoskeletons, dexterous manipulators, humanoid robotics, bipedal and quadrupedal robots (iCub), biomimetic systems, rehabilitation robotics, micro-robotics, telepresence and teleoperation procedures, medical robotics, and automation systems for the food industry. He is involved in other European projects including VIACTORS, OCTOPUS and AMARSI.

Brian DAVIES is Emeritus Professor of Medical Robotics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, where he has been since 1983, and is also a Senior Research Investigator. He is also a Senior Researcher at IIT since June 2008 where he is helping to set up a new Robotic Surgery Group. He has a PhD in Medical Robotics and was awarded a DSc. in 2001 for his international contribution to Robotic and Computer Aided Surgery systems. He is a founder & treasurer of the Royal Society of Medicine new "Technologies in Medicine" section. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005, is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and is on their Medical Engineering Board. He started the Mechatronics in Medicine Group in 1988 which now has an international reputation for its work in Robotic and Computer Assisted Surgery. He has developed a number of robotic surgery and training systems and achieved a "world first" when his special purpose robot, "PROBOT", was used in human clinical prostatectomy trials in April 1991. Since then he has produced a number of special purpose robots for surgery. He is currently a participant in the ROBOCAST & ACTIVE robotic surgery EU projects.

Edward GRANT is currently a full Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University. In 2010 Prof. Grant was appointed a Senior Researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology. Prof. Grant received his B.Sc. (Hons) degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Abertay Dundee, his M.Eng. degree in fluid power control from the University of Sheffield, and his PhD in computer science from the University of Strathclyde. Prof. Grant is a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng.) and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (F.I.Mech.E.). His research interests include: evolutionary robotics, medical robotics, and smart wearable sensing and control systems for healthcare. Prof. Grant is Director of the Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at North Carolina State University. The current state of the art in the field of cognitive-based assistive technologies is in its infancy, there is little, or no, body of knowledge to refer to. However, Dr. Grant has a long history of developing interactive user interfaces for autonomous robotics and the learned real-time control of dynamically unstable systems, e.g., unmanned UAV's. Dr. Grant initiated the research in this project, and was instrumental in designing and developing the interactive human-robot interface for an elementary laser phonomicrosurgery system. Dr. Grant will be actively involved in µRALP through the IIT.