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Lucia Beccai

Senior Researcher Tenure Track - Principal Investigator
Tenure Track Researcher

Research Line

Artificial Touch in Soft Biorobotics

Center

CMBR@SSSA Pisa

Contacts

Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34
+39 050 883079
+39050883079/015
Contact Me

About

Lucia Beccai is Tenure Track Researcher at the Center for Micro-BioRobotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia of Genoa, Italy. She graduated in 1998 in Electronic Engineering (specialization in Microelectronics) at the University of Pisa after performing an experimental thesis focused on the development of nanometric ZrO2 oxygen sensors. In 1999 she joined the Center of Research in Microengineering (CRIM) laboratory (formerly MiTech lab) of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA) as research assistant. She contributed to the establishment of the new CRIM laboratory active from 2002 and she collaborated to several European research projects. Dr. Beccai obtained her Ph.D. in Microsystem Engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata in 2003, and she spent one year at the Institut fur Mikrotechnik of Mainz, in Germany as she was awarded a research project to develop a new kind of MEMS based tactile force sensor. After joining (2005) SSSA’s Advanced Robotic Technology and System (ARTS) lab (today both labs have fused in the Institute of Biorobotics), she held a temporary position of Assistant Professor in Bioengineering (2008).

In her career, she built expertise in biorobotics, and microsystem engineering in the biomedical field, e.g. from biomedical microsystems for in-vivo applications and MEMS, to bioinspired solutions for bionic hand tactile feedback systems, human tactile encoding mechanisms and development of human-inspired artificial systems. She collaborated in many international projects being responsible for research activities in several of them, like in Cyberhand (EU-IST-FET-2001-35094), DARPA Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program, Nanobiotact (FP6-NMP-033287) and Nanobiotouch (FP7-NMP-2008-SMALL-2). In November 2009, she joined IIT as Team Leader contributing to the start-up of the Center of Micro-BioRobotics, and initiated new research activities on smart soft tactile sensing, piezoelectric and triboelectric energy harvesting technologies, bioinspired soft microrobots. Collaborating to the Plantoid project (FP7-FETOpen-293431) she also investigated soft mechanical sensory systems inspired by the Plant Kingdom.

Her research today includes activities on: smart tactile systems inspired from nature, soft robotic systems for investigating active and passive touch, new technologies from milli- to micro-scale for enabling 3D soft mechanical sensing, and soft material triboelectric power generation for powerless sensing. Target applications are those in fields of soft robotics and wearable devices/human-computer interfaces. In the latter she is responsible for a fully wearable sensory system in the  XoSoft project “Soft modular biomimetic exoskeleton to assist people with mobility impairments” (H2020-688175).

She has trained many PhD students and several post-docs, and currently she mentors 2 PhD students, 2 post-docs, one research fellow and one visiting PhD student. She is the Associate Editor for journals of Scientific Reports and Frontiers in Robotics and AI, Soft Robotics Section, and has organized several workshops at international conferences where she chaired some sessions (Living Machines, ICRA, ICORR, IROS, BioRob). She has 3 patents (from one of them a spin-off company was originated on soft tactile skins) and is author of more than 100 articles on refereed international journals, books, and international conference proceedings.

 

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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.