Scuola superiore sant'anna

Assistant Professor

Egidio Falotico


  • PROFILE
  • PUBLICATIONS
  • RESEARCH
  • LESSONS AND CONFERENCES
  • NEWS
  • EDUCATION

2013             Double PhD degree:  Phd in Biorobotics at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA), Pisa, Italy;  PhD in Cognitive Science at University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France

2008             Master: Master Degree in Computer Science. University of Pisa. Italy. 

 

  • CURRENT POSITION

2018-ongoing Assistant Professor  (RTD-A) at The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy

 

  • PREVIOUS POSITIONS

2014-2017:    Post doc (Research Assistant/Team Leader) at The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, (Italy)  , under the supervision of prof. Cecilia Laschi

2013-2014:    Post doc at Italian Institute of Technology, Pontedera, (Italy), under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Mazzolai.

 

  • INSTITUTIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES

2020-ongoing   Member of the Academic Board (Collegio dei docenti) of the PhD course in BioRobotics

2020-ongoing   Supervisor of ESR6 (Control and behavior of self-healing soft robots) in the European Union Innovative Training Networks (ITN) SMART (Soft, Self-responsive, Smart MAterials for RoboTs)

2019-ongoing   PI of SSSA for the project Proboscis project (PROBOSCIdean Sensitive soft robot for versatile gripping)

2018-ongoing Co-leader and publication manager in the Sub-Project 10 (Neurorobotics of the Human Brain Project (HBP). PI of SSSA in the HBP.

2018-ongoing   Faculty member, The BioRobotics Institute, SSSA, Italy

2015- 2019: Involvement in the following projects:

  • SWARMS (Smart Networking UnderWater Robots in Cooperation Meshes, GA. n. 662107)
  • RoboSoM (A Robotic Sense of Movement, G.A n. 248366)
  • I-Support (A service system for bathing tasks, G.A. n. 643666)
  • Smart-E (Sustainable manifacturing through Advanced Robotics Training in Europe, G.A. n. 608022)
  • Joint Laboratory in Biorobotics Engineer (funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

 

Contributo su Rivista

Since my early studies, I have always been fascinated by how a complex system like the human body can be regulated and controlled by an even more complex system, the brain. Specifically, understanding how a movement is conceived, planned and controlled by the brain is one of the biggest neuroscientific challenge that attracted my interest. Transposing the movement control mechanisms in a model for artefacts is an extraordinary way to tackle this challenge, to extend the knowledge on the brain and develop better robots.

In particular, it was through my double PhD degree that I could explore all the potential of neuroscience knowledge applied to robotics, and vice versa.

Through my studies at the College de France I developed strong expertise in cognitive neuroscience, specifically in the motor control. This has led me to run experiments on locomotion on healthy volunteers, and to start a thriving collaboration with neuroscientists. This allowed me to understand the main principles that regulates human locomotion, such as the head stabilization and the sense of movement

At the Biorobotics Insitute, I integrated this acquired expertise, deriving principles related to gaze control and providing models for robot control. In particular I developed models of eye movements (saccade, smooth pursuit and vestibulo-ocular reflex) and integrate this with head movements. I was able to develop a complete model of gaze stabilization including vestibulo-collic, vestibulo-ocular and optokinectic reflex.

I have been working on different projects, in particular RoboSoM, where I was responsible for the integration of the previously mentioned gaze models in a humanoid robot performing locomotion tasks.

In 2013, I joined the Human Brain Project, the EU flagship initiative on the brain, working in the SubProject 10, dedicated to Neurorobotics. I started as Post-doc and team leader in a group of two PhD students and a research assistant. In the framework of this project I mainly contributed to the design and development of the Neurorobotics Platform (Falotico et al., 2017). This platform is a unique tool that integrates robot and brain simulators, where neuroscientists and neuroroboticists can test brain models at different levels (from point-neuron models to more abstract algorithms). In the framework of this project I have also developed models of specific areas of the brain, like cerebellum and spinal cord, tested on robotic tasks.

In 2018, I was asked to take on the role of SP10 co-leader. This had led to an increase of scientific and management responsibilities, being both main Principal investigator at the BioRobotics institute and one of the two representatives of SP10 in the Science and Infrastructure Board (SIB).

Since 2017, by relying on my expertise in AI and computational neuroscience, I contributed to the development of control models for soft robots. Soft robots, that are complex robotic platforms difficult to model, benefit from  model-free approaches. I contributed to the design and implementation of several models based on learning the kinematics and dynamics through neural networks. I have become also very active in the soft robotics community through the participation in workshops and the role of publicity chair in the first IEEE RoboSoft conference held in Livorno in 2018. I am now PI for SSSA of the PROBOSCIS project whose aim to develop a robot inspired by the elephant trunk.

  • TEACHING ACTIVITIES  

2018-2021   Chair of a PhD course on Brain-Inspired Motor Control  at the BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. Topics: neural networks, principles of motor control, brain-inspired strategies for robot control, AI for robot control. 

2018-2021   Co-Chair of the PhD course on Bipedal locomotion: from humans to humanoids at the BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. Topics: biped locomotion, kinematics and dynamics of humanoid robots 

2019-2021           Co-Chair of a course on Robotics in the master degree in Computer Science at the University of Pisa. Topics: neural networks, AI for robot control, biped locomotion and humanoid robots. 

2019-2021           Co-Chair of a course on Cloud Robotics in the master degree in Bionics Engineering at the University of Pisa. Topics: Introduction to ROS and YARP, programming with ROS and YARP in python and C++.

 

  • SCIENTIFIC EVENTS  
25th October, 2020 Workshop on “New Advances in Soft Robot Control” at the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2020)

 

29th September, 2020 Invited Speaker at the workshop on: "Visuomotor coordination: from physiology to control systems". Joint Lecture on: "Visuomotor tasks by cerebellar-based control systems"  with Prof. Claudia Casellato (University of Pavia)

 

9th September, 2020 Invited Speaker at the XXXIX Annual School of Bioengineering “AI-enabled health care: from decision support to autonomous robots”. Lecture title: "Neurorobotics: Brain-inspired models for robot control

 

3th September, 2020 Co-chair of a session on "Motion Planning and Navigation in Human-Centered Environments" at the RO-MAN2020 conference

INFO:

The Biorobotics Institute

Assignments:
  • Council of the Biorobotics Institute