Research

This is the list of formalized projects in which I am currently involved:

Below follow a summary of the recent results of my research grouped in different themes (Tactile sensing, Vision and Software Engineering). For a complete list of papers see my publications list (Publications).

Object manipulation and grasping

The iCub is equipped with a system of about 4500 tactile sensors distributed on the torso, arms and legs. I have worked in particular on the control of interaction forces on the whole-body and on the design of the sensorized fingertips. At the moment my group is studying algorithms for object grasping and manipulation using visual and tactile feedback.

    References

  • Vezzani, G., Pattacini, U., and Natale, L., A Grasping Approach Based on Superquadric Models, in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Singapore, 2017. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Regoli, M., Pattacini, U., Metta, G., and Natale, L., Hierarchical Grasp Controller Using Tactile Feedback, in IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots, Cancun, Mexico, 2016.[pdf] [bibtex]
  • Jamali, N., Maggiali, M., Giovannini, F., Metta, G., and Natale, L., A New Design of a Fingertip for the iCub Hand, in Proc. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Hamburg, Germany, 2015, pp. 1799-1805. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Maiolino, P., Maggiali, M., Cannata, G., Metta, G., Natale, L., A Flexible and Robust Large Scale Capacitive Tactile System for Robots, IEEE Sensors Journal, vol. 13, no. 10, pp. 3910-3917, 2013. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Del Prete, A., Denei, S., Natale, L., Mastrogiovanni, F., Nori, F., Cannata, G., Metta, G., Skin Spatial Calibration Using Force/Torque Measurements, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, San Francisco, California, September 25-30, 2011. [pdf]
  • Schmitz A., Maiolino P., Maggiali M., Natale L., Cannata G., Metta G., Methods and Technologies for the Implementation of Large Scale Robot Tactile Sensors, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp. 389-400, 2011. [pdf] [bibtex]

Vision

I am interested in the study of algorithms for visual perception of the scene. We are ingestigating algorithms for motion detection with ego-motion compensation, object recognition using weak supervision and more recently deep-learning.

    References

  • Pasquale, G., Ciliberto, C., Rosasco, L., and Natale, L., Object Identification from Few Examples by Improving the Invariance of a Deep Convolutional Neural Network, in Proc. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Daejeon, Korea, 2016, pp. 4904-4911. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Abuhashim, T., and Natale, L., Robustness in View-Graph SLAM , in 19th International Conference on Information Fusion, Heidelberg, Germany, 2016, pp. 942-949. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Roncone, A., Pattacini, U., Metta, G., and Natale, L., Cartesian 6-DoF gaze controller for humanoid robots, in Robotics: Science and Systems, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, 2016. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Pasquale, G., Ciliberto, C., Odone, F., Rosasco, L., and Natale, L., Teaching iCub to recognize objects using deep Convolutional Neural Networks, in Proc. 4th Workshop on Machine Learning for Interactive Systems, 2015.
  • Mar, T., Tikhanoff, V., Metta, G., and Natale, L., Self-supervised learning of grasp dependent tool affordances on the iCub Humanoid robot, in Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Seattle, Washington, 2015.
  • Ciliberto, C., Smeraldi, F., Natale, L., Metta, G., Online Multiple Instance Learning Applied to Hand Detection in a Humanoid Robot, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, San Francisco, California, September 25-30, 2011.
  • Fanello, S. R., Ciliberto C., Natale, L., Metta, G., Weakly Supervised Strategies for Natural Object Recognition in Robotics, in Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2013, pp. 4223-4229.


Software engineering

Robotics is a system science. For this reason a large body of work has been devoted to the development and study of software archictures and software engineering techniques specifically tailored to robotics systems.

I am leading the engineering of the iCub software: from the firmware to the middleware. We have developed YARP (www.yarp.it) an open source middleware that supports concurrent execution of components on a cluster of computers.

With my group I have also studied techniques for coordinating software components, reduce coupling and increase re-use and interoperability. Since communication is a typical bottleneck in robotics systems we have recently extended YARP to provide support for channel prioritization and QoS.











    References

  • Natale, L., Paikan, A., Randazzo, M., Domenichelli, D.E.,The iCub Software Architecture: Evolution and Lessons Learned, Frontiers in Robotics and AI, vol. 3, no.24, 2016, doi: 10.3389/frobt.2016.00024. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Paikan, A., Pattacini, U., Domenichelli, D., Randazzo, M., Metta, G., and Natale, L.,A Best-Effort Approach for Run-Time Channel Prioritization in Real-Time Robotic Application, in Proc. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Hamburg, Germany, 2015, pp. 498-503. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Paikan, A., Traversaro, S., Nori, F., and Natale, L.,Generic Testing Framework for Test Driven Development of Robotic Systems, in Proc. Modelling and Simulation for Autonomous Systems Workshop, Prague, Czech Republic, 2015, pp. 216-225. [pdf] [bibtex]
  • Paikan, A., Domenichelli, D., and Natale, L., Communication channel prioritization in a publish-subscribe architecture, in Proc. Software Engineering and Architectures for Realtime Interactive Systems Workshop, Arles, France, 2015. [pdf]
  • Paikan, A., Tikhanoff, V., Metta, G., and Natale, L., Enhancing software module reusability using port plug-ins: an experiment with the iCub robot, in Proc. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Chicago, Illinois, 2014. [pdf]
  • Paikan, A., Fitzpatrick, P., Metta, G., and Natale, L., Data Flow Port's Monitoring and Arbitration, Journal of Software Engineering for Robotics, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 80-88, 2014. [pdf]
  • Fitzpatrick, P., Metta, G., and Natale, L., Towards Long-Lived Robot Genes, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp. 29-45, Elsevier 2008. [pdf]