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Research lines

Applied Materials for Printed and Soft Electronics

You will investigate soft conductive materials and their fabrication processes for applications as sensors/actuators in biomedicine and robotics. These include printed epidermal electronics (tattoos) for biomonitoring and sustainable laser induced graphene for next-generation devices. [PI(s): Greco]
Project(s): Fit4MedRob - Fit for Medical Robotics (MUR (PNRR)); 5DNanoprinting - Functional & Dynamic 3D Nano- MicroDevices by Direct Multi-Photon Lithography (H2020, GA:899349).

Artificial Hands

Research activities in the areas of mechatronics and human-machine interfaces with the goal of developing advanced robotic limbs to be used as thought-controlled prostheses. Funded by European Research Council, INAIL, Ministries of Research and Health. [PI(s): Cipriani, Carrozza]

Bioelectronics & Neural Engineering

The students will be involved in research projects aiming at developing advanced solutions to restore sensory, motor, cognitive, and autonomic functions in disabled people based on wearable and implantable devices,machine learning approaches, signal and image processing. Computational models will be also developed to understand the neural functions and to tailor the technological solutions to the specific recovery needs of patients. [PI(s): Micera, Mazzoni, Moccia, Bandini, Proietti, Russo]

Biorobotic Ecosystems

Research focused on the deep integration of technology elements in life form communities, sharing their abilities collectively in organism-robot augmented (eco)systems. Major aims of such systems are biodiversity preservation, sustainable environmental management, life support in extreme scenarios. [PI(s): Romano]
Project(s): SURF - Swarm of heterogeneous Underwater Robotic Fishes (TII (UAE), Contract no. TII/ARRC/2047/2020); ECOBOTICS.SEA - Bioinspired Technologies for a Sustainable Marine Ecosystem (H2020, GA:824043); microbING - Crop and microbiome biodiversity tailored approach, microengineering augmented, for sustainable production under climate change (MUR (PNR).

Brain-Inspired Robotics

Research activities focus on brain models for motor control, sensory-motor coordination, and cognition in autonomous robots. Such models are based on AI methods with the goal of improving robot capabilities for soft and rigid platforms. [PI(s): Falotico]
Project(s): PROBOSCIS - PROBOSCIdean Sensitive soft robot for versatile gripping (H2020, GA:863212); Fit4Med - Fit for Medical Robotics (MUR (PNRR)); APRIL - Human inspired manipulation alghorithms (H2020, GA:870142).

Computational Mechanics

You will develop computational models for the design of bioengineering devices inspired by biological organisms. These include: unicellular swimmers with applications to targeted drug delivery, leaves and seeds of plants with applications to environmental sensing, worms for new surgical tools. [PI(s): De Simone]
Project(s): I-Seed - Towards new frontiers for distributed environmental monitoring based on an ecosystem of plant seed-like soft robots (H2020, GA:101017940).

Creative Engineering Design

Research oriented at developing and using design methodologies to address open real-world challenges, especially in the area of biorobotics. Research mostly conducted in collaboration with industry, adopting approaches typical of Human Centered Design and Design Thinking. [PI(s): Stefanini]
Project(s): Robocoenosis - ROBOts in cooperation with a bioCOENOSIS (H2020, GA:899520); Fit4Med - Fit for Medical Robotics (MUR (PNRR).

Healthcare Mechatronics

You will target the design of intelligent medical robotic systems, e.g. AI-driven assistive/collaborative robots, and mesoscale devices, e.g. endoluminal capsules and catheters, for improving diagnostic/therapeutic procedures and other healthcare-oriented tasks for the hospital of the future. [PI(s): Ciuti, Chiurazzi]
Project(s): ODIN - Leveraging AI based technology to transform the future of health care delivery in Leading Hospitals in Europe (H2020, GA:101017331).

Human-Robot Interaction

Research topics include design of robotic/prosthetic hands endowed with a high-resolution electronic skin for prosthetic and dexterous grasping (eg Human inspired manipulation algorithms), human-robot interaction (Evaluation of hand functions by means of instrumented tools). [PI(s): Controzzi]
Project(s): B-Cratos - Wireless Brain-Connect inteRfAce TO machineS (H2020, GA:965044); APRIL - multipurpose robotics for mAniPulation of defoRmable materIaLs in manufacturing processes (H2020, GA:870142); Fit4Med - Fit for Medical Robotics (MUR (PNRR)).

Microscale Robotics

You will develop advanced robotic technologies having sub-millimetre size. Such microrobots will be designed taking inspiration by cells, and they will have high potential impact in minimally invasive medicine (e.g. localized delivery) [PI(s): Palagi]
Project(s): CELLOIDS - Cell-inspired particle-based intelligent microrobots (H2020, GA:948590).

Nanotechnologies applied to medicine (IIT)

The Smart Bio-Interfaces group focuses on the development and exploitation of physically-active nanoparticles and nanostructured materials, able to provide appropriate instructive cues to cells and tissues. [PI(s): Ciofani]
Project(s): CyberNano (AIRC IG 2020); MagDock - Advanced 3D in vitro models based on magnetically-driven docking of modular microscaffolds (HORIZON, GA:101081539); iCare - Integrated assessment and Advanced Characterisation of Neuro-Nanotoxicity (HORIZON, GA:101092971).

Neuromodulation for cancer therapy

Students will participate in a research project aimed at developing the proof-of-principle of a completely novel anti-cancer therapeutic paradigm with a potential major impact on tumor treatment. With a Bioelectronic Medicine approach, we will test the possibility of controlling the tumor microenvironment through modulation of neurotransmitter release by defined target nerves, to hamper tumor growth. [PI(s): Angeloni, Micera, Redolfi Riva]

Neuro-Robotic Touch

You will target the engineering of an artificial tactile sense in parallel to the investigation of human touch, integrating transducers, implementing neuromorphic strategies, developing wearable and medical devices, and running behavioural protocols to characterize tactile perception. [PI(s): Oddo]
Project(s): BRIEF - Biorobotics Research and Innovation Engineering Facilities (MUR (PNRR)); Proximity Care (Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca); DPI SMART (INAIL).

Regenerative Technologies

Research activities focused on biomaterials, cell cultures, biophysical stimulation tools and a series of supporting technologies for tissue/organ healing and regeneration, and mechatronic technologies for the development of implantable artificial organs and other medical devices. [PI(s): Ricotti, Cafarelli, Vannozzi]
Project(s): REBORN - Remodelling of the infarcted heart: piezoelectric multifunctional patch enabling the sequential release of of therapeutic factors (HORIZON, GA:101091852); BioMeld - A modular framework for designing and producing biohybrid machines (HORIZON, GA:101070328); FORGETDIABETES - A Bionic Invisible Pancreas to Forget Diabetes (H2020, GA:951933); ImmUniverse - Better control and treatment of immune-mediated diseases by exploring the universe of microenvironment imposed tissue signatures and their correlates in liquid biopsies (H2020, GA:853995); MIO-PRO - A new human-machine interface for the control of prostheses (INAIL, GA:PR19-CR-P1).

Robot Companions

Research aimed at developing a new generation of robot companions, based on supportive technologies that aim to help citizens of all ages, from infants to the elderly. [PI(s): Dario, Ciuti, Chiurazzi]

Soft BioRobotics Perception (IIT)

Bioinspired tactile sensors/skins (material, transducer, electronics, processing). Soft integrated transduction&actuation (also by 3D multimaterial printing and metamaterials). Study of the elephant trunk (animal experiments) and development of versatile manipulators for strong and delicate tasks. [PI(s): Beccai]

Soft Robotics

Research focused on soft actuators, smart compliant sensors and flexible mechanisms, from enabling technologies to complete soft robotic systems that utilize body deformability and compliance as a form of physical/embodied intelligence to obtain complex and rich beahviour with minimal control. [PI(s): Cianchetti, Laschi]
Project(s): AInCP - Clinical validation of Artificial Intelligence for providing a personalized motor clinical profile assessment and rehabilitation of upper limb in children with unilateral Cerebral Palsy (HORIZON, GA:101057309); SoftGrip - Soft robotic gripper for delicate produce harvesting (H2020, GA:101017054).

Surgical and Interventional Robotics

You will study and develop enabling technologies and solutions for minimally invasive surgery, targeted therapy and diagnosis. In your PhD project, you will develop robots, models, processes and sensing & actuation building blocks for surgery, intervention and targeted therapy. [PI(s): Menciassi]
Project(s): MAPWORMS - Mimicking Adaptation and Plasticity in WORMS (HORIZON, GA:101046846); REGO - Cognitive robotic tools for human-centered small-scale multi-robot operations (HORIZON, GA:101070066); ARTERY - Autonomous Robotics for Transcatheter dEliveRy sYstems (H2020, GA:101017140); THE - Tuscany Health Ecosystem (MUR (PNRR)); BRIEF - Biorobotics Research and Innovation Engineering Facilities (MUR (PNRR)); MOTU++ (INAIL, GA:PR19-PAI-P2); BIOSUP - Bionic Solutions for Urinary impaired People (INAIL); Proximity Care (Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca).

Textile Robotics

You will leverage the mechanical and sensing properties of textiles and other materials to design and clinically validate wearable robots that gently yet forcefully interact with the wearers for evaluation, assistance and rehabilitation purposes. [PI(s): Cappello]
Project(s): Fit4MedRob - Fit for Medical Robotics (MUR (PNRR)).

Wearable Robotics

You will carry out research activities in the field of lower-limb prosthetics, exoskeletons, and exosuits for human movement replacement, assistance, augmentation and rehabilitation. [PI(s): Vitiello, Crea, Trigili]
Project(s): THE - Tuscany Health Ecosystem (MUR (PNRR)); Fit4MedRob - Fit for Medical Robotics (MUR (PNRR)); Proximity Care (Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca); DETERMINISTIC6G - Deterministic E2E Communication with 6G (HORIZON, GA:101096504).