Francesco Rea

Date of birth: 14th October 1982

Nationality: Italian

Research Synopsis

Rea Francesco got his bachelor degree in Software Engineering at the Universita di Bergamo Italy. He got the MSc degree in Robotics and Automation with distinction at the Salford University, England. Since 2009, at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, he has promoted the research in the field of humanoid robotics. He got his PhD degree in 2013 where he exploited the aspects of perception and cognition in active vision. In his thesis FROM PERCEPTION TO COGNITION : A QUEST FOR EFFECTIVE ACTIVE VISION IN HUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION, starting from different perceptive mechanisms (stereo neuromorphic sensor, frame-based color stereo vision), he addressed different biological models of cognitive development (attention system, prediction, learning, oculomotor controls). He has recently been involved in the study and simulation of the "Consequences of loading on postural-focal dynamics" in humans/humanoid in collaboration with U.S. Army Natick Soldier RDEC. Since 2009, he investigated in European projects (eMorph, Darwin) different topics in the field of biological modeling of human brain functions by testing novel findings on the humanoid robot iCub. His research is now continuing in exploiting the models of child development and validation of biological model on the humanoid platform iCub.




Developmental Learning


Artificial Intelligence


Machine Learning


Ph.D., Robotics

University of Genoa, 2009-2012

Topic: The role of actions for perception: improving perception abilities of the humanoid iCub"

Thesis: From Perception to Cognition : A Quest for Effective Active Vision in Human-Robot Interaction"

M.Sc.,Robotics and Automation,

University of Salford, UK, September 2007-September 2008

Thesis: Ontology Enhancing Process for a Situated and Curiosity-Driven Robot

B.Sc., Computer Engineering, Information Technology for Industry curriculum

Universita di Bergamo, Italy, March 2007

Thesis: Localization method for mobile robots using WiFi sensors

B.Sc., Information Engineering

Universita di Bergamo, Italy, December 2004

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Professional Experience

March 2015 - February 2020

Teamleader of the group "cognitive robotics and interaction lab" including 12 PhD students and visiting master students

project: ROBOCOM++

July 2014 - February 2015

Researcher - Responsible for the cognitive and social abilities of the humanoid robot iCub at RBCS (IIT)

project: CODEFROR

January 2014 - June 2014

Researcher - DARWIN "Dextrous Assembler Robot Working with embodied INtelligence"

The objectives comprise obtaining fully autonomous mode in the humanoid robot iCub via cognitive models of reasoning. Cognitive models emulate reasoning models studied in humans which relate to the ability to effectively generalize and transfer previous knowledge into novel tasks. In project new techniques guarantee that past experiences, memorized in the short- and long-term memory, are used as plateau for novel experiences. In the cognitive system such complex cognitive mechanism interact with the perception stage in the humanoid robot iCub. The interaction performs in real-time on a fully developmental robotic system.

project: DARWIN

January 2013 - December 2013

Researcher - "Consequences of loading on postural-focal dynamics"

The objectives comprise different important investigation in the study of whole body synergy formation under loading conditions. The task space analysis and investigates the effects of loading on reduction in the available degrees of Freedom is the chief goal of the survey. In the same project postural affordances and lack of access to physical /functional workspace is exploited in order to achieve models of biological control. Another aspect addressed in the professional experience is investigation into systems-level dynamics of postural-focal coupling under load during the execution of motor tasks in unstructured (and often unpredictable) environmental conditions using a biologically feasible approach to motor control i.e. the Equilibrium point hypothesis (EPH) and Passive motion paradigm (PMP). The study has been carried on by implementing models of the dynamics systems involved in simulation environment (OpenSim). In this simulation system aspects such as stabilization of unstable tasks, motor skill learning and tool use in the presence of perceptual, motor and cognitive loads have been under detailed study.

project: Peterpan

June 2009 - December 2012

Researcher - cognitive skills of the humanoid robot iCub

Software engineer at the Italian Institute of Technology. Duties included porting existing code about visual attentive system based on biological evidences from previous humanoid robotic platform (babybot) to humanoid robot ICUB. Implementation of biological evidences concerning the visual attentive system on the humanoids robot Icub. Exploiting different sensorial/acquisition mechanisms embedded in the humanoid robot Icub within the visual attention framework. This enhanced the researcher`s knowledge in the field of traditional vision thanks to the use of traditional frame-based camera. In addition the research carried on in the area of neuromorphic engineering gives deep and strong knowledge on software programming in the field or event-based vision. Generally speaking event-based programming because its profound different mechanisms widen the perspective as software developer.

project: eMorph


Projects supported by direct personal involvement at different levels

1st EU cognition

1st European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems, Interaction and Robotics

2nd EU Cognition

2nd European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems, Interaction and Robotics

3rd EUCognition

3rd European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems, Interaction and Robotics


Machine Learning Genoa Center


Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems


Training counts on different collaborations with different universities and companies in Europe, West and East continents

Training undertaken

Training activities in the form of summerschools and workshops attendend

The 2010 CapoCaccia Cognitive Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop,

Capo Caccia, Sardinia, Italy, Sunday 2010-04-25 to Saturday 2010-05-08
funded : The European Commission FP7 FET Programme, The US National Science Foundation

MLSS Machine Learning Summer School /

Pula, Sardinia, May 6 - May 12, 2010

funded : PASCAL - Pattern Analysis, Statistical Modelling and Computational Learning


Livorno, Italy, September 20-24, 2010

funded: FET-Proactive Initiatives Calls in FP7 , The European Commission FP7 FET Programme