[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] PhD opening: Event-driven affordances for the iCub

Vadim Tikhanoff Vadim.Tikhanoff at iit.it
Mon May 4 08:34:48 PDT 2015

The iCub Facility Department at the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is looking for talented Ph.D. candidates in the context of humanoid robotics.The position is available through the PhD course of Bioengineering and Robotics, curriculum on Advanced and Humanoid Robotics. The successful applicant will join the iCub Facility department at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova, Morego (http://www.iit.it/icub).

Grasping and manipulation are two necessary skills of a robot that needs to reliably work and cooperate with humans. The performance of a robot when interacting with objects heavily relies on robot calibration, 3D scene reconstruction and accurate action execution. In realistic environments all of the above is prone to errors that can result in failure of the planned action. In humans, such errors are counterbalanced by adaptive behaviours that build on the knowledge of the results of actions and on the early detection of failures that allows for the execution of corrective actions.

The goal of this project is to learn the behaviour of objects during clumsy or imprecise manipulation and grasping, and using this knowledge to plan and perform corrective actions. A bad grasping will cause the object to fall in specific ways, the robot can then learn the association between a specific action parameter (for example hand pre-shaping, direction of grasping, object 3D configuration, etc.) and the trajectory of the falling object, effectively learning its “falling affordances”. The robot can then use this information to better plan the next grasping action on the same object and to perform corrective actions. This task will rely on the integration of traditional color-based high spatial resolution vision with accurate and fast observation of the object motion by event-driven cameras, characterised by extremely high temporal resolution.

Degree in Computer Science or Engineering (or equivalent) and background in Computer Vision and/or Machine Learning. High motivation to work on a robotic platform and good programming skills.

[1] Benosman, R.; Clercq, C.; Lagorce, X.; Sio-Hoi Ieng; Bartolozzi, C., "Event-Based Visual Flow," Neural Networks and Learning Systems, IEEE Transactions on , vol.25, no.2, pp.407,417, Feb. 2014, doi: 10.1109/TNNLS.2013.2273537
[2] Tikhanoff, V.; Pattacini, U.; Natale, L.; Metta, G., “Exploring affordances and tool use on the iCub”, 2013, IEEE/RAS International Conference of Humanoids Robotics

Chiara Bartolozzi, Vadim Tikhanoff, Ugo Pattacini (email: name.surname at iit.it<mailto:name.surname at iit.it>)

* How to apply
Notice that the positions are available through the PhD course of Bioengineering and Robotics, curriculum on Advanced and Humanoid Robotics, offered jointly by IIT and the University of Genova. The official call and application forms are available on the website of the University of Genova.

The official calls are available here:
http://phd.dibris.unige.it/biorob/index.php/how-to-apply/themes (Advanced and Humanoid Robotics)

Applications must be submitted online, instructions for applicants are available here:

* Application deadline: 10 June 2015, 12pm Italian time

Vadim Tikhanoff, PhD
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher
iCub Facility
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
vadim.tikhanoff at iit.it<mailto:vadim.tikhanoff at iit.it>
via Morego, 30 16163 Genova
+39 010 71781 881

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