Pisa takes lead in robotic research
Historic Tuscan city becomes major hub thanks to cooperation23 September, 18:17
(ANSA) - Pisa, September 23 - Academics at two major Tuscan research facilities have come together to create technological marvels, including specialized robots.
Specialists from the National Inter-University Consortium for Telecommunications (CNIT) are cooperating with the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa under a strategic framework on research designed to target industries with a high rate of technological innovation, in areas such as integrated photonics.
Photonics, the science of light, is used in an enormous range of applications in everything from telecommunications and semiconductors to medicine.
The expectation is that the joint projects will attract researchers and scholars from various parts of Italy as well as international collaborators, the institutions say.
Exchanges between individual academics and institutions will be arranged, especially ones involving post-graduate and doctoral students from around the world.
Indeed, Scuola Sant'Anna says that it is one of the first Italian academic institutions to formalize scientific collaborations with China, and it has been deeply involved in technology transfers, promoting the registration of patents, and the creation of spin-off companies. Another of its key areas of research is bio-robotics, for which its been singled out for recognition and awards from ANVUR, the Italian government agency that evaluates the quality of scientific research conducted across the country.
This recognition "confirms the effectiveness of the path taken by our research," says Dean Pierdomenico Perata.
In the field of bio-robotics alone, dozens of research projects have been developed, including a bionic hand that has been created to re-establish the connection between a robotic prosthesis and a human subject's nervous system.
This project has already been tested effectively using volunteers.
Other studies have focused on marine robotics and other civil and military applications.
Meanwhile, the CNIT and the Scuola Sant'Anna's work in integrated photonics is expected to draw investments totalling more than eight million euro, which will help to finance the construction of a new workshop in the San Cataldo research facility, located a few steps from Pisa's historic centre.
The funding will be provided by the Region of Tuscany and the Province of Pisa. CNIT is a nonprofit organization involving 37 Italian universities. It was founded in 1995 and is recognized by the ministry of higher education and research.
It aims to coordinate and promote theoretical research and development in cooperation with Italian and international companies and industries, as well as perform advanced training in the field of telecommunications. The National Laboratory of Photonic Networks was created as part of a comprehensive agreement with the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna to create a world-class centre of excellence in networks and photonic technologies.
Last year researchers from Sant'Anna were involved in an Italian project to develop robot companions dubbed RoboCom (Robot Companions for Citizens).
Working with researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa, the group aimed to develop a robotic companion able to perform small tasks as well as lift heavy loads.