The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a Research Foundation established in 2006 to promote scientific excellence in “Humanoid” technology. The Institute currently has over 1000 researchers with over 85 working exclusively in robotics within the Department of Advanced Robotics (http://www.iit.it/en/advanced-robotics/) and about 45 within the iCub Facility (http://www.iit.it/icub).Research activities concentrate on an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to robotic design, and control, and the development of novel robotic components and technologies. There are four core areas; Humanoid Technologies (mechanism design, actuation and sensing, compliant systems, locomotion, control, physical Human-Robot Interaction, learning by imitation, reinforcement learning, and end-effectors, humanoids developed at IIT include iCub and COMAN), Biomimetic Technologies (high performance quadrupedal robots (HyQ) focusing on motion planning, gait generation and control, and power actuation), Biomedical Technologies and Haptic/VR technologies.
The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology and is located in Lausanne. EPFL is ranked as Europe’s #2 and world’s #18 university in the field of “Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences” in the 2012 academic ranking of world universities (ARWU) by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. EPFL participation will be through the Biorobotics laboratory (BIOROB). The BIOROB Lab has worked extensively on dynamical system control for articulated robots (snake-like, salamander-like, quadruped and humanoid) and for exoskeletons. It has developed several control architectures for locomotion based on the biological concepts of central pattern generators and motor primitives. The group also develops new types of robots such as amphibious salamander-like robots.
Key Personnel: Auke Ijspeert
The Università di Pisa (UNIPI), founded 1343, is among the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe, with alumni such as Galilei, Volterra and Fermi. The Research Centre “Enrico Piaggio”, founded in 1962 and recently promoted to the status of Centro di Ateneo, organises interdisciplinary research among engineering, medicine, and biological scientists towards applications in Bioengineering and Robotics. Centro E. Piaggio has a longstanding experience in managing contracts with international, EC, and industrial partners, and currently hires four professional project managers. The Robotics Group of the Interdepartmental Research Centre “Enrico Piaggio” focuses on robotics and embedded automation. The group is among the originators of the modern approach to physical human-robot interaction, where it has been advocating intrinsic safety via the co-design of mechanics and control, oriented towards performance maximization within rigid safety constraints. Particular attention has been focused on the study of hands and haptics since at least 20 years. Recent work has proposed a synergy-based approach to hand design and control for grasp and manipulation that is producing interesting results from both a theoretic and a design point of view.
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a higher education institution and a research centre in Germany, funded by the federal government and the state of Baden-Württemberg. With almost 9,000 employees, 23,000 students, and a total annual budget of about 750 million Euros KIT is a leading university of the State of Baden-Württemberg in science and engineering as well as one of the largest national research centres in the Helmholtz Association. KIT builds on the extensive experience its predecessors, Universität Karlsruhe and Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, have gained in EC-funded research from more than 1000 projects up to now. KIT will take part in the project through the new established chair on Humanoid Robotics Systems, High Performance Humanoid Technologies Lab (H2T), led by Tamim Asfour, www.humnaoids.kit.edu. H2T has strong expertise in humanoid robotics. Specifically, the group has been working extensively on humanoid robotics towards the implementation of high performance and versatile 24/7 humanoids able to predict, act and interact in the real world and perform a wide variety of tasks. The major topics of the group include humanoid mechatronics and design, grasping and dexterous manipulation, goal-directed imitation learning, active vision and active touch, multimodal exploration, modelling and analysis of human motion, software and hardware architectures. Currently, the group consist of 12 postdoctoral and PhD researchers. The group was involved successful EU (PACO-PLUS, GRASP, Xperience) and National projects (SFB 588, Autonomous Learning).
The Université Catholique de Louvain (http://www.uclouvain.be) is one of the oldest European universities, founded in 1425. UCL is a full university, delivering diplomas in technical, social, and medical sciences. The Center for Research in Mechatronics (http://www.cerem.be) at UCL is committed to high-level research in mechatronics systems. Recently, the Centre gained expertise in biomedical applications with research projects in assistance for surgery (laparoscopy) and rehabilitation and assistive robotics for the upper- and the lower-limb. Renaud Ronsse and Paul Fisette are currently involved in the FP7-ICT-FET CYBERLEGs project, targeting the development of a fully assistive device for the replacement and assistance of the lower-body in elder amputees. The group from UCL is responsible of the high-level control in this project. Furthermore, Renaud Ronsse was involved in the FP7-ICT-FET EVRYON project during his post-doc at EPFL (Switzerland), in the lab of Auke Ijspeert. This project addressed the development of a lower-limb rehabilitation device. In this project, Renaud Ronsse particularly gained expertise in developing protocols for human-robot interactions, based on motor primitives. Paul Fisette developed the ROBOTRAN symbolic program (www.robotran.be), a physics-based model generator dedicated to multi-body dynamics, in particular for biomechanical applications.