Our humanoid robot, the iCub™ (I as in “I robot”, Cub as in the man-cub from Kipling’s Jungle Book), has been specifically designed to support research in embodied artificial intelligence (AI). At 104 cm tall, the iCub has the size of a five-year-old child. It can crawl on all fours, walk and sit up to manipulate objects. Its hands have been designed to support sophisticate manipulation skills. The iCub is distributed as Open Source following the GPL/LGPL licenses and can now count on a worldwide community of enthusiastic developers. More than 30 robots have been built so far which are available in laboratories in Europe, US, Korea and Japan (see http://www.iCub.org). It is one of the few platforms in the world with a sensitive full-body skin to deal with safe physical interaction with the environment. IIT coordinates the project and supports the evolution of the iCub from the research platform of today to the low-cost commercial applications of the near future. We take a 360-degree approach to robotics including mechanical design, power sources, new advanced electronics (e.g. neuromorphic), sensor development (e.g. tactile, cameras), middleware, and control and AI algorithms. Our research is carried out in collaboration with several research lines at IIT (see below), international academic partners (for example EPFL, Imperial College, TUM, MIT, KAIST, Osaka University), as well as a selected number of industrial stakeholders.
The iCub laboratory space hosts several research lines providing support on all aspects related to the robot design, modification, fabrication, programming and use in the daily research activities. Our skilled personnel consists of about 80 people, 60% of which involved in research, the remainder dedicated to engineering and administration. The laboratory presently sports four iCubs in different configurations as well as the machinery required to assemble, maintain and run the robots, measurement and calibration devices, and the ICT infrastructure.
A selection of the current running projects:
Numerous research lines impact on the iCub project, in particular:
- Humanoid Sensing and Perception (L. Natale)
- Dynamic Interaction Control (F. Nori)
- Artificial Touch in Soft Biorobotics (L. Beccai)
- Graphene (V. Pellegrini)
- Humanoids and Human-Cantered Mechatronics (N. Tsagarakis)
- Visual Geometry and Modelling (A. Del Bue)
- Computational Statistics and Machine Learning (M. Pontil)
- Robotics Brain and Cognitive Sciences (G. Sandini)
In addition, collaborations are active with the following IIT centres: