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Giorgio Metta, the “father” of iCub, will be the new Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

The engineer will succeed the physicist Roberto Cingolani from 1 January 2020


The robotics section of the 2019 edition of the Maker Faire had among its guests a humanoid robot that is particularly famous in the scientific world. And it is also known for the ease with which it wins the sympathy of children. We are talking about iCub, a small but immensely impressive humanoid robot that has the physical features of a little four-year-old boy.


Photo: IIT

A little over 3 ft tall (1 m), the humanoid robot has an ability to perceive and comprehend that is truly out of the ordinary. In fact, iCub is able to observe the surrounding environment, perceive sounds, and detect physical contact thanks to the artificial skin that covers his body. The android robot possesses all the skills necessary to allow him to interact with human beings, complete tasks, and learn from his mistakes. Its main function is indeed to investigate cognition in automata, implementing algorithms inspired by biology.


Giorgio Metta with iCub (Photo: Giorgio Metta/Facebook)


In addition to having become a small celebrity in the world of robotics, iCub also has another reason to “celebrate”. In fact, the man who created him, the engineer Giorgio Metta, has been indicated as the next Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa and will take over from the physicist Roberto Cingolani starting from 1 January 2020.


Born in Cagliari (Sardinia), Giorgio Metta has been Deputy Scientific Director since 2016 and directs the iCub Facility. He has numerous work and research experiences both in Italy and abroad (Metta is a professor of Cognitive Robotics at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom) and can boast over 300 scientific publications. His unanimous nomination makes it possible to foresee excellent developments for the future of the institute, which, thanks to the work of Cingolani, is already known for its excellence at an international level.


Photo: IIT


All that is left to say is to offer our best wishes to the delightful little iCub and his “dad” Giorgio Metta, the next Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT).