The Italian Institute of Technology's humanoid robot, the iCub™ 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. 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. ITT takes 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. Their research is carried out in collaboration with several research lines at IIT, international academic partners (for example EPFL, Imperial College, TUM, MIT, KAIST, Osaka University), as well as a selected number of industrial stakeholders.
The iCub is the humanoid robot developed at IIT as part of the EU project RobotCub and subsequently adopted by more than 20 laboratories worldwide. It has 53 motors that move the head, arms & hands, waist, and legs. It can see and hear, it has the sense of proprioception (body configuration) and movement (using accelerometers and gyroscopes).Experts are working to improve on this in order to give the iCub the sense of touch and to grade how much force it exerts on the environment. With many versions of the iCub around the world, rapid concurrent development takes place in several labs.
Current iCub projects include:
The goal of RobotCub was to study cognition through the implementation of a humanoid robot the size of a 3.5 year old child: the iCub. This is a fully open source & hardware project, one of a kind! This is the project that started the iCub both in hardware and software.
CoDyCo aims at advancing the current control and cognitive understanding about robust, goal-directed whole-body motion interaction with multiple contacts. CoDyCo will go beyond traditional approaches: (1) proposing methodologies for performing coordinated interaction tasks with complex systems; (2) combining planning and compliance to deal with predictable and unpredictable events and contacts; (3) validating theoretical advances in real-world interaction scenarios
Xperience will demonstrate that state-of-the-art enactive systems can be significantly extended by using structural bootstrapping to generate new knowledge. This process is founded on explorative knowledge acquisition, and subsequently validated through experience-based generalization.
The Experimental Functional Android Assistant (EFAA) project will contribute to the development of socially intelligent humanoids by advancing the state of the art in both single human-like social capabilities and in their integration in a consistent architecture.
The MACSi project is a developmental robotics project based on the iCub humanoid robot. It is funded as an ANR Blanc project from 2010 to 2012.
The Darwin project aims to develop an "acting, learning and reasoning" assembler robot that will ultimately be capable of assembling and disassembling complex objects from its constituent parts.
The ITALK project aims to develop artificial embodied agents able to acquire complex behavioural, cognitive, and linguistic skills through individual and social learning. This will be achieved through experiments with the iCub humanoid robot.
POETICON is a project that explores the poetics of everyday life, i.e. the synthesis of sensorimotor representations and natural language in everyday human interaction. This is related to an old problem in AI on how meaning emerges.
The CHRIS project (Cooperative Human Robot Interaction Systems) addresses the fundamental issues which enable safe Human Robot Interaction (HRI) from the motoric as well as cognitive point of view.
The RobotDoC Collegium is a multi-national doctoral training network for the interdisciplinary training on developmental cognitive robotics. The RobotDoc Fellows will acquire hands-on experience through experiments with the open-source humanoid robot iCub.
RoboSKIN will develop and demonstrate a range of new robot capabilities based on the tactile feedback provided by a robotic skin from large areas of the robot body. Up to now, a principled investigation of these topics has been limited by the lack of tactile sensing technologies.
Motor skills of humans and animals are still utterly astonishing when compared to robots. AMARSi aims at a qualitative jump in robotic motor skills towards biological richness.
IM-CLeVeR aims to develop a new methodology for designing robots controllers that can cumulatively learn new efficient skills through autonomous development based on intrinsic motivations, and reuse such skills for accomplishing multiple, complex, and externally-assigned tasks.
The goal of the eMorph project is to design asynchronous vision sensors with non-uniform morphology, using analog VLSI neuromorphic circuits, and to develop a supporting data-driven asynchronous computational paradigm for machine-vision.
Starting from the assumption that cognition is embodied, the ROSSI project addresses the question of how the possibility of communication between agents (e.g. humans and robots) is affected by differences in sensorimotor capacities.
icub.org is Open Source and distributed according to the GPL v2.0 © 2004-2016 the RobotCub Consortium
Source and top image: iCub