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NMMI Institutional Contributors

NMMI Institutional Contributors

Centro di ricerca "E. Piaggio" - Università di Pisa (UNIPI)

The University of Pisa (UNIPI), founded 1343, is among the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe, with alumni such as Galilei, Volterra and Fermi. The Interdepartmental Research Centre “Enrico Piaggio”, founded in 1962 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 maximisation within rigid safety constraints. The group is also known for the design of haptic interfaces and in the study of human factors in touch interaction between man and machines.

Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

The Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) is a Research Foundation, founded in 2006, to promote scientific excellence in “Humanoid” technology with a focus of 4 key technological platforms (Neurosciences, Nanobiotechnologies, Drug Discovery Development and Robotics). The Institute currently has over 600 researchers with over 160 working exclusively in the area of robotics. The humanoid robot iCub is “manufactured” at IIT. The Department of Advanced Robotics comprises more than 70 staff at all research levels from Ph.d (17) to Full Professors (4). Research activities in the department concentrate on an innovative, often biologically inspired, multidisciplinary approach to humanoid design and control, and the development of novel robotic components and technologies. It combines activities from both the hard (mechanical/ electrical design and fabrication, sensor systems, actuation development etc.) and soft (control, computer software, human factors etc) systems areas of robotics. While mimicking biological principles does not necessarily lead to the development of optimal systems the core departmental philosophy is that the merging of multiple, diverse technologies will facilitate a transition from traditional (hard-bodied) robots towards a new generation of hybrid systems combining engineering principles such as speed, robustness, accuracy, and endurance with biologically inspired concepts that aim to emulate the ’softer’ compliant structure of muscle, bone, tendons and skin to provide robots with the capacity for self-repair, regeneration, redundancy etc. It is believed that this synergetic combination will lead to new advanced; Actuation and Energy/Power Systems, Interfaces and Interaction Technologies, Sensing, Intelligence and Control, and Structures, Materials and Mechanisms.

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Founded in 2011, qbrobotics Srl is a high-tech company that produces innovative soft robotic muscles and robotic hands that exploit soft robotics technologies. Our mission is to foster innovation and drive the diffusion of technologies that will propel the next generation of robots. These robots are envisaged to have a more direct role in the lives of humans and therefore must be strong enough to actually be helpful, while safe enough to not put a human into harm’s way. In order to do so, current motor control technologies must be taken to a whole new level, that is, through the implementation of soft robotics technologies.


A spin-off of the University of Pisa and the Italian Institute of Technology, qbrobotics blossomed thanks to a tight collaboration with illustrious academic and industrial partners of the EU-funded project FP7-287513-SAPHARI: Safe and Autonomous Physical Human-Aware Robot Interaction (2011-2015) as a high-tech company providing a modular platform for building novel robots that can be controlled in real-time to the desired equilibrium position and the desired stiffness, a principle known in robotics as Variable Stiffness Actuation (VSA).

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Technische Universität Berlin

The internationally renowned Technische Universität Berlin is located in Germany’s capital city at the heart of Europe. Our academic activities are focused on achieving sharply-defined goals: building a distinctive profile for our university, ensuring exceptional performance in research and teaching, providing our graduates with excellent qualifications and a modern approach to university administration. The TU Berlin strives to promote the dissemination of knowledge and to facilitate technological progress through adherence to the core principles of excellence and quality. Strong regional, national and international networking with partners in science and industry are an important aspect in these endeavors.

Dipartimento di Informatica e Sistemistica (DIS) , Università di Roma "La Sapienza" (UNIROMA1)

The research unit at the Dipartimento di Informatica e Sistemistica (DIS) laboratory of the Università di Roma "La Sapienza" is committed to the development and experimental validation of advanced planning and control techniques for industrial and service robots. The group includes four faculty members, one post-doc member, and three Ph.D. students. The research activity of DIS Robotics Laboratory has dealt with motion planning and model- or sensor- based control of manipulators with joint or link flexibility, kinematically redundant robotic systems, wheeled and legged mobile robots, as well as non-holonomic mechanical systems. Moreover, a range of techniques in nonlinear control, iterative learning, hybrid force-motion control, graph search methods, optimal control, sensor fusion, randomized motion planning and cooperative exploration have been developed. Research has been funded through projects supported by the European Union, including ESPRIT-BRA project PROMotion, IST STREP project CyberWalk, FP6 STREP PHRIENDS, as well as several national agencies.

Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)

DLR is the Aerospace Research Center as well as the German Space Agency. Its Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics, located in Oberpfaffenhofen, is one of the biggest and most acknowledged Institutes in the field worldwide. The main focus is on the design and realisation of intelligent mechatronic concepts and systems. Examples of the pioneering work are multiple ultra-lightweight arms and also multi-fingered hands. These robots use both force/torque sensors at the hand basis and in the robot joints and directly sense and control the torques of the interaction with the environment along the entire robot structure (soft robotics). These technologies are successfully transferred to industrial partners as KUKA, Brainlab, and Schunk. For these activities, the institute has won the EURON/erf (European Robotics Forum) Technology Transfer Award in 2004 and 2007. Recent and also awarded research is on the compliant whole body control of Justin, the DLR dual-arm/hand mobile service robot, allowing to manipulate objects skilfully in unknown environments (based also on vision information) and to safely interact with humans. Variable impedance robot design and control is another recent major research focus. DLR has one of the worldwide most active groups on safe physical human-robot interaction. The institute coordinates and contributes to several international projects in FP7 (IP, STREP) participates to ESA space projects and also to many national space and research projects.

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS)

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) is the largest aerospace company in Europe and the second largest worldwide ( EADS is market leader in civil aeronautics, defence technology, helicopters, space, missiles, military transport and combat aircraft and the associated services. The EADS Group includes among others the commercial aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the helicopter supplier Eurocopter and the space company Astrium. Within EADS, the Innovation Works research network is responsible for the upstream research and technology activities of the EADS group. Its two main sites near Paris and Munich employ approximately 600 people including doctorates and university interns. Innovation Works is committed to promoting product and process improvements, towards leaner solutions and to increase the performance of manual work in order to keep production in Europe.

Fraunhofer-Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB)

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the leading organisation for institutes of applied research in Germany, undertaking contract research on behalf of industry, the service sector and the government. Commissioned by customers in industry, it provides rapid, economical and readily applicable solutions to technical and organisational problems. Within the framework of the European Union's technology programs, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is actively involved in industrial consortia seeking technical solutions to improve the competitiveness of European industry. At present, the organisation maintains over 59 research institutes with some 17,000 employees at locations throughout Germany. The Department Systems for Measurement, Control and Diagnosis (MRD) has many years of experience in the design, implementation, integration and optimisation of complex systems for measuring, control and diagnosis using state-of-the-art model and knowledge based methods. Advanced multi-sensory monitoring and control systems using the latest information processing technologies have been successfully implemented in different applications in industry, robotics and resource management.

KUKA Laboratories GmbH (KUKA)

KUKA grew from the company “Keller und Knappich Augsburg” which was founded in 1898. In 2009 the group employed 5744 people worldwide and had a turnover of just short of €1 bn. KUKA Laboratories is where the innovation activities of KUKA and the development of new products for the markets of the future are bundled. KUKA Laboratories is, amongst other things, responsible for the development of the KUKA controller and mechatronic technology. Safety is a major concern in this context.

KUKA is internationally recognised for its technologically advanced industrial robots. KUKA’s lightweight robot arm (LWR) is the result of a technology transfer from the German Space Agency (DLR). Because of its technical and design features (e.g., the integrated torque sensors) this type of robot is predestined for tasks where robot and human beings share the same workspace. KUKA’s Matlab Simulink framework allows for an easy integration of the algorithms developed by the project partners into a KUKA robot controller.

KUKA has a track record of successful co-operative research projects, both on a European and national level. KUKA is the coordinator of the European Robotics Coordination Action (euRobotics) which is actively driving the European Robotics Technology Platform (EUROP) and is known for its support of the academic community and a number of highly respected technology transfers. KUKA is also the coordinator of the research projects Best Practice in Robotics (BRICS) and Robotics-enabled Logistics and Assistive Services for the Transformable Factory of the Future (TAPAS) and contributes to several national research projects such as AVILUS.

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (LAAS-CNRS)

Established in 1968, Laboratoire d'Analyse et d'Architecture des Systèmes (LAAS) is a Research Unit of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). It is associated with six university institutions in Toulouse: Toulouse I (Capitole), Toulouse II (Mirail), Toulouse III (Université Paul Sabatier), INSA, ISAE and INP. CNRS-LAAS has a permanent staff of over 320, together with (on average) 260 doctorate students. Research at CNRS-LAAS covers Automatic Control, Computer Science and Engineering, and Microelectronics. The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Department, the largest in France (25 staff, 50 PhD students, and 7 postdocs), is active in research on intelligent and autonomous robotic systems. The team involved in this proposal is composed of members from the Robotics and Interactions group (RIS) and from the Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance group (TSF).

Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Technische Universität München (TUM) is ranked the top academic and research institution in Germany consistently in several independent rankings in recent years. The Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS) group at the Department of Informatics employs about 30 PhD students in the areas of perception, interpretation, and analysis of intentional activities and plan-based and action-aware control of robotic agents. It is one of the key research groups in the German cluster of excellence “Cognition for Technical Systems", where it is responsible for one of the demonstrators - the Assistive Kitchen. The IAS group is in close contact and exchanges researchers with leading research groups all over the world (Willow Garage, CMU, Intel Research Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, CNRS-LAAS, etc.). Institute of Automatic Control Engineering (LSR) has its strong expertise in scientific fields over: automatic control, robotics, networked- telepresence- and teleoperation- systems, human-robot interaction, control theory, and machine learning. It is a leader of “Cognition for Technical Systems", which is the German cluster of excellence. Institute of Automatic Control Engineering (LSR) has participated in EU project “Touch-Hapsys”, EU project “Robot@CWE”, EU project “Immersence”, EU project “IURO”, EU project “BEAMING”, EU project “VERE”, German National project “SFB453: High-Fidelity Telepresence and Teleaction”, German National project “SFB-TR28: Cognitive Automobiles”, German National project “SPP Control Theory of Digitally Networked Dynamical Systems”, German National project “Cluster of Excellence Cognition for Technical Systems”.

Università di Napoli Federico II (UNINA)

The Research Unit UNINA operates in the Dipartimento di Informatica e Sistemistica (DIS) and Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche (DSF) of the University of Naples Federico II. In this project, UNINA will lead the PRISMA Joint Research Unit (JRU), based on an agreement linking six research teams ( from the Universities of Basilicata, Cassino, Salerno and the Second University of Naples. The main research activities are in the fields of robot control, cognitive robotics, new sensors and actuators. The group is internationally recognised for its scientific achievements and was involved in a number of research projects, both on a European and a national level. Some of the most recent projects supported by the EC include the large-scale integrating projects DEXMART, ECHORD, the specific target research projects AIROBOTS, Co3AUVs, PHRIENDS, and the coordination and support action EUROBOTICS.

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Centro di ricerca "E. Piaggio" and IIT are the official hosts of NMMI.

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