Francesco Nori

Visiting scientist


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.