Fellow Opening on “3D Perception and Learning for Humanoid Robot Locomotion/Manipulation” - [ Fellow ]

Workplace: Genova, IIT
Added on: 26/03/2018 - Expires on: 09/07/2018

The Humanoids and Human Centred Mechatronics Research Line at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) (an English language Institute, placed in Genoa) is seeking a fully funded 6 months fellow (Msc should have been completed), with a strong ambition to pursue a research career, to work on one of our EU-funded WALK-MAN (www.walk-man.eu, video: youtu.be/kZzwVwzAWME, video: youtu.be/7UectbjusCI), CogIMon (cogimon.eu), and/or CENTAURO (www.centauro-project.eu) humanoid robots.                                                           

We are looking for highly motivated candidates with a MSC degree in Electrical/Computer Engineering.

Potential Topics (one should be selected):

  • "3D Perception and Learning for Legged Robot Navigation: rough terrain locomotion (vision and path planning) using geometric and machine learning techniques"
  • “3D Perception and (Deep) Learning for Humanoid Robot Tool Manipulation: detection, localization, and use”

 After Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 the need of robots to deal with unstructured environments and replace humans in hazardous tasks became one of the main open problems in robotics. Rapid advancements in actuation and control over the last few years enabled articulated legged robots to walk in uneven terrain and manipulate several objects. Still, the problems of 1) foot placement in rough terrain for navigation and 2) tool manipulation and reasoning in uncertain setups using 3D perception, remain two of the main challenges in robotics and are the key aspects for completing several tasks in unknown environments.

The aim of this topic is to develop new geometric or machine learning (e.g. deep learning) methods for environment reconstruction and cognition that enable limbed robots, such as WALK-MAN (http://www.walk-man.eu/), CENTAURO (https://www.centauro-project.eu) , or CogIMon (https://cogimon.eu) to perform legged locomotion and manipulation in unstructured environments using 3D perception for foot-placement and hand/arm/wholebody-placement for path planning and mapping (SLAM). Several exteroceptive (stereo/event/rgb cameras, RGB-D sensors, 2D/3D lidar scanners) sensors will be used on our limbed robots, to acquire RGB images and dense 3D point clouds. Geometric simplifications for reasoning the contact between the robot's body (e.g., foot, hands, arms) and the environment will need to take place. Moreover, path planning methods need to be developed to extract primitives for locomotion and manipulation. The development and testing will take place on our full-size humanoid/quadrupedal robots in real-world environments.


  • The person in interest should have acquired a Master degree (obtained within the past six months from the application) in a relevant field.
  • This topic lies in the intersection of Vision, Learning, and Robotics. A background in any of Robotics, Computer/Robotic Vision, Path Planning, Robot Learning is desirable.
  • Ideal applicants should have strong C++ (Python and Matlab are a plus) programming skills.
  • Machine learning and computer vision skills are required.
  • Knowledge of the Robot Operating System (ROS) and the Point Cloud Library (PCL) is a very big plus.
  • The applicants should be fluent in English and team players.

The applicants should submit their CV  (deadline July 9, 2018) electronically outlining experience and qualifications, a short statement (max 1 page) about the research areas of interest as well as the names of two referees to Dimitrios.Kanoulas@iit (cc-ed nikos.tsagarakis@iit.it), quoting [HHCM-INTERNSHIP – CB75158 ] in the email subject (total email size should not exceed 1MB).


Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), with its headquarters in Genova, Italy, is a non-profit institution with the primary goal of creating and disseminating scientific knowledge and strengthening Italy’s technological competitiveness. The institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and a top-level interdisciplinary research environment focused on robotics and computer vision, neuroscience, drug discovery, nanoscience and technology.

We inform you that the information you provide will be used solely for the purposes of evaluating and selecting professional profiles in order to meet the requirements of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

Your data will be processed by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, based in Genoa, Via Morego 30, acting as Data Controller, in compliance with the rules on protection of personal data, including those related to data security.

Please also note that, pursuant to articles 15 et. seq. of European Regulation no. 679/2016 (General Data Protection Regulation), you may exercise your rights at any time by contacting the Data Protection Officer (phone +39 010 71781 - email: dpo@iit.it).

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.

Nikos Tsagarakis
Dimitrios Kanoulas
Involved Research lines
Humanoids & Human Centered Mechatronics


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.