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Francesco Nori Write a Message

Researcher TT (TT1)


Via Morego, 30


Francesco Nori was born in Padova in 1976. He received his D.Eng. degree (highest honors) from the University of Padova (Italy) in 2002. During the year 2002 he was a member of the  UCLA Vision Lab as a visiting student under the supervision of Prof. Stefano Soatto, University of California Los Angeles. During this collaboration period he started a research activity in the field of computational vision and human motion tracking.  In 2003 Francesco Nori started his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Ruggero Frezza at the University of Padova, Italy. During this period the main topic of his research activity was modular control with special attention on biologically inspired control structures. Francesco Nori received his Ph.D. in Control and Dynamical Systems from the University of Padova (Italy) in 2005. In the year 2006 he moved to the University of Genova and started his PostDoc at the laboratory for integrated advanced robotics (LiraLab) , beginning a fruitful collaboration with Prof. Giorgio Metta and Prof. Giulio Sandini. In 2007 Francesco Nori has moved to the Italian Institute of technology where he is currently hired as a team leader.


Francesco coordinates the CoDyCo project, starting in March 2013. It is coordinated by the IIT and it 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.

From October 2013 Francesco Nori is the IIT scientific responsible for Koroibot. In the KoroiBot project, we will study the way humans walk e.g. on stairs and slopes, on soft and slippery ground or over beams and seesaws, and create mathematical models. Besides developing new optimisation and learning methods for walking on two legs, we  aim to implement them in practice on real robots. In addition, the research results are to flow into planning new design principles for the next generation of robots. 

RobotCub is a 5 years long project funded by the European Commission through Unit E5 Cognitive Systems, Interaction & Robotics. The main goal is to study cognition through the implementation of a humanoid robot the size of a 3.5 year old child: the iCub.

The Viactors project aims at developing and exploiting actuation technologies for a new generation of robots that can co-exist and co-operate with people and get much closer to the human manipulation and locomotion performance than today’s robots do. At the same time these robots are expected to be safe, in the sense that interacting with them should not constitute a higher injury risk to humans than the interaction with another cautious human. This requires that robots with similar size and mass as the humans also have comparable power, strength, velocity and interaction compliance.

The ITALK project aims to develop artificial embodied agents able to acquire complex behavioural, cognitive, and linguistic skills through individual and social learning.

Selected Publications

[1] Bartolozzi, C.; Natale, L.; Nori, F.; Metta, G.. Robots with a sense of touch. Nature Materials. 15, 921–925 (2016) doi:10.1038/nmat4731

[2] Latella, C.; Kuppuswamy, N.; Romano, F.; Traversaro, S.; Nori, F. Whole-Body Human Inverse Dynamics with Distributed Micro-Accelerometers, Gyros and Force Sensing. Sensors (2016), 16, 727. 

[3] G. Metta, L. Natale, Francesco Nori, G. Sandini, D. Vernon, L. Fadiga, C. von Hofsten, K. Rosander, M. Lopes, J. Santos-Victor, A. Bernardino, and L. Montesano. The icub humanoid robot : An open-systems platform for research in cognitive development. Neural Networks, 23(8-9):1125–1134, 2010.

[4] B. Berret, E. Chiovetto, Francesco Nori, and T. Pozzo. Evidence for composite cost functions in arm movement planning: An inverse optimal control approach. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(10), 2011.

[5] L. Fiorio, F. Romano, A. Parmiggiani, G. Sandini, and Francesco Nori. Stiction compensation in agonist-antagonist variable stiffness actuators. In Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems, Berkeley, USA, July 2014.

[6] M. Fumagalli, S. Ivaldi, M. Randazzo, L. Natale, G. Metta, G. Sandini, and Francesco Nori. Force feedback exploiting tactile and proximal force/torque sensing - theory and implementation on the humanoid robot icub. Auton. Robots, 33(4):381–398, 2012.

[7] Francesco Nori, S. Traversaro, J. Eljaik, F. Romano, A. Del Prete, and D. Pucci. iCub Whole-body Control through Force Regulation on Rigid Noncoplanar Contacts. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 2(6), 2015.

[8] Latella C., Kuppuswamy N, Romano F., Traversaro S., Nori F. Whole-Body Human Inverse Dynamics with Distributed Micro-Accelerometers, Gyros and Force Sensing 2016. Sensors, vol. 16, pp. 727.


ECSA-2 Best Paper Award in 2015 - Latella, C.; Kuppuswamy, N.; Nori, F. "Force and motion capture system based on distributed micro-accelerometers, gyros, force and tactile sensing" - 2nd International Electronic Conference on Sensors and Applications (ECSA) November 15-30, 2015. Details here.


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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.