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News & Events ■ News ■ 2013 News

News 2013

iCub on display, focus on graphene, and a “deep” look into the nanocosmos at the Science Festival

fds-2013-300pxIn Genoa a showcase of projects and researchers by the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) from October 23 to November 3.

Some of the most important projects by IIT will be presented at the Science Festival in Genoa from October 23 to November 3. The researchers of IIT will be involved in several talks: on nanocosmos (Alberto Diaspro on 28 and 30 October), on the flexibility of robotic fingers for future prosthetic hand (Antonio Bicchi October 27), on future applications using the thinnest material in the world, graphene (Vittorio Pellegrini, October 30 ). IIT will also be running a workshop on Generative Art (from 26 October to 3 November), while the humanoid robot iCub will be the protagonist of the exhibition Anthropomorphic Technology in Sestri Ponente (the 26th, 27th and 28th October). Finally, some of the innovative ITT start-up will participate to the " National Innovation Award.

Here below the schedule of events involving the IIT researchers:

October 24th at 9:00 p.m. Palazzo Ducale – Sala del Maggior Consiglio, Lectio Magistralis: “From graphite to graphene. The history of the thinnest material in the world”. Vittorio Pellegrini, the project leader for the IIT Graphene project,  will moderate this event, whose protagonist will be Kostya Novoselov, awarded of Nobel prize in Physics in 2010 together with Andrei Geim for pioneering experiments on graphene.

October 27th at 3:00 p.m. Aula Polivalente San Salvatore, Piazza Sarzano: “Simple is not easy. Human and robotic hands among culture, science and technology”. Antonio Bicchi, coordinator of the Group of Robotics Research Center "E. Piaggio" and Senior Scientist at IIT Genoa and Marco Santello, director and professor at the University of Arizona will illustrate the project of the robotic hand SoftHand, developed by the Research Center "E. Piaggio" of the University of Pisa and the Istituto italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa. The SoftHand is a revolution in the world of robotic limbs and a help to the study of new and improved prosthesis as it is capable of almost all the different ways of grasping of a human hand.

October 28th at 11:00 a.m. Aula Polivalente San Salvatore, Piazza Sarzano. Lectio magistralis: “Images from the nanocosmos. The beauty of the biological world”. Alberto Diaspro, director of the Nanophysics Department and vice - director for the outreach of IIT will engage you into a journey through the images of cells, revealed by the optical nanoscopes.

October 30th at 3:00 p.m.Palazzo Ducale, Sala del Minor Consiglio. “Graphene: Welcome to Flatland”. Vittorio Pellegrini, project leader for the IIT Graphene project and Vincenzo Palermo, project coordinator for the ISOF -CNR Graphene, will tell about the scientific and industrial revolution of the thinner crystal in the world.

October 30th at 5:00 p.m.Museum of Natural History Giacomo Doria, Auditorium, Via Brigata Liguria. “There is so much beauty there in the background, at the nanoscale. Nanotechnology and the sense of wonder”. Alberto Diaspro, director of the Nanophysics Department and vice - director for the outreach of IIT, explores the beauty of the world invisible to human eye. During this talk, Diaspro investigates if the journey to the nanoscale can enhance not only knowledge, but also the sense of wonder, mystery and respect that you may experience when you are, for example, contemplating a flower.

October 31st Teatro della Gioventù, Via Macaggi. Ceremony for the National Award Innnovation 2013. Two IIT start -ups, winners of the Ligurian edition of Smart Cup, are running for this award: Dual Cam of Samuel Martelli and ON_IRIS of. Diego Ghezzi. The program includes the visit to the exhibition of projects from 10:00 to 13:00 and in the afternoon, from 14:30 to 18:30, the interviews of Riccardo Luna to entrepreneurs, among which Emanuele Guglielmino, IIT researcher, winner of the Innovation Award 2012 with the Microturbine project. The event will continue with the elevator pitch of the participants and the award ceremony. Free admission.

October 31st at 6:30 p.m. Palazzo Ducale, Sala del Minor Consiglio. “Italiax10. The beauty of research”. The Genoese appointment with "Italiax10. The beauty of research” which includes the presentation of the ideas of 10 makers in the field of scientific and technological research , selected for having translated their research into practical ideas that, in some way, make life more beautiful. Among the makers also Marco Gaudina, currently manager of Circle Garage, thanks to the Hiris technology developed and patented with IIT. The event, moderated by Federico Ferrazza , Vice-Director of Wired Italy, will be broadcast in live streaming on

From October 26 to November 3, Palazzo Grimaldi della Meridiana, Salita di San Francesco (beside Piazza della Meridiana). Workshop: “Generative Art. Beauty generated with the computer”. IIT Researchers of the Advanced Robotics Department: Dario Mazzanti, Victor Zappi (who has done his PhD in the IIT laboratories) and Giacinto Barresi. Is it possible to teach a computer how to create art works? During the workshop they will try to define the meaning of “beauty", analyzing the common standards that determine its perception in visual art and music. The same criteria will then be used to let the computer generate images, videos and music, even interactive ones . The workshop will take place from Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and on Saturday, Sunday and November 1, from 10am to 7pm.

From October 24th to November 3rd, Villa Rossi, Sestri Ponente. Exhibition: “Anthropomorphic Technology”. Robotics and design of machines are two models of technological beauty that will be put in comparison. You can admire the historical computers from Apple and the latest generation robots such as the humanoid robot iCub, the open source platform developed by the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. iCub will be present at the exhibition only on the 26-27 and 28 of October. The hours of the exhibition are: 9-18 Monday to Friday , 10-19 Saturday and Sunday; 1 November and 25 October 9 - 13.

From 23rd to 31st of October, Loggia di Banchi, Piazza Banchi. Exhibition: “Graphene. The science that you do not expect in pencil tip”. The exhibition is organized by the European Flagship just launched in Sweden and of which the Istituto italiano di Tecnologia is a partner. Opening of the exhibition: 9-18 weekdays and 10 - 19 Saturdays and holidays; 31 October 9 - 15. Admission fee foreseen.

Full program at

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 16:07

OPERON: an innovative method for the study of pre-clinical cognitive changes of some psychiatric disorders

operon-350pxThe new automatic system "Operon" solves the limitations posed by currently available methods, which represent an obstacle to progress in the field of translational medicine in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders

The study "The Ultimate Intra-/Extra-dimensional Attentional Set- Shifting Task for Mice" has been published in the international journal Biological Psychiatry. The project was coordinated by Dr. Francesco Papaleo, Team Leader in the Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies (NBT) at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, and conducted in collaboration with the University of Padua and the National Institute of Mental Health in USA. It presents the new automatic system "Operon", which can solve the limitations posed by the current systems of cognitive analysis in the field of pre-clinical psychiatry.

Psychiatric disorders are characterized by different disorders, in particular the difficulty for the patient to use some higher cognitive functions, such as executive functions. This is particularly debilitating, as it alters the ability to focus attention on the relevant information, organizing them according to importance covering in achieving a goal. Some of these diseases are both serious and frequent: Parkinson's , Autism, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are considered, in fact, the health priorities by all health systems worldwide.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2013 14:55


WALK-MAN: the future high performance humanoid robot for real world applications

walkman-logo-350pxThe EU project officially launched at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

The official kick-off meeting for the European Project WALK-MAN ( was hosted at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. WALK-MAN aims to develop humanoid robots able to operate in real and unstructured environments resulted from natural and man-made disasters. The project has duration of 4 years and is coordinated by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, involving also University of Pisa (Italy), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany and the l’Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium.

WALK-MAN targets to enhance the capabilities of existing humanoid robots, such as the ones developed by some of the partners of the consortium (Coman, iCub and Armar), permitting them to operate in emergency situations, while assisting or replacing humans in civil damaged sites including buildings, such as factories, offices and houses. In such scenarios, the WALK-MAN robot will demonstrate human type locomotion, balance and manipulation capabilities. The robot will have the ability to walk and balance in unstructured workspaces, ability to walk over rough terrain, in and through cluttered spaces and among the crowd or crawling over a debris pile.

The project will also advance the manipulation capabilities of existing humanoids by developing new hand designs where robustness and adaptability are combined and that make robots able to grasp or manipulate objects and tools with human-like strength and dexterity.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 October 2013 14:35


Dr. Petar Kormushev, ADVR researcher, receives the prestigious John Atanasoff award from the President of Bulgaria

petar-350pxGenova, 4th October 2013 – Dr. Petar Kormushev, 33-year-old researcher and team leader at the Advanced Robotics department of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) just received a prestigious award from the President of Bulgaria. This prize is awarded every year since 2002 to one outstanding young Bulgarian scientist under the age of 35 in the field of computer science and technology and it is given by the President of Bulgaria.

The award is named after Prof. John Atanasoff, the inventor of the first electronic digital computer, who has Bulgarian descent.

The ceremony for the 2013 John Atanasoff award was held on October 4th, 2013 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Dr. Kormushev’s research focuses on reinforcement learning algorithms and their application to robot learning. His team develops machine learning algorithms and applies them to robots like the compliant humanoid robot COMAN, the iCub humanoid robot, the Barrett WAM arm manipulator robot, and the Fujitsu HOAP-2 small humanoid robot. Dr. Kormushev posted a video of the ceremony on his YouTube channel:

Further information can be found here:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 16:00


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