I like to develop things that really work, and can help people enjoying life.
My formation includes Computer Engineering (Ms and PhD from Polimi), but also many other topics, from Neurolinguistic Progamming (Master, 3 years) and other topics related to psychology, to Tai Chi Chuan (20+ years), theatre improvisation (Improv, 4 years), furniture design and making, mask design and making, kite design, making, and flying, Japanese-style painting, sax, flute, and clarinet playing, and many others.
I've a position as Full Professor at Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI), Department of Electronics, Information, and Bioengineering (DEIB), and Responsible for the activities of the AI and Robotics Lab (AIRLab), established in 1973, which, from February 2020, is proudly partner of the Leonardo Robotics Labs cluster at POLIMI.
After years of research on User Modeling, Human-machine Interaction, Knowledge Representation and Acquisition, Expert Systems, Qualitative Reasoning, Fuzzy Systems, Genetic Algorithms, Reinforcement Learning, Autonomous Robots, Affective Computing, I'm currently focusing my basic research on few topics in the Human-Robot Interaction and Machine learning fields.
Robots can be implemented with many different bodies, in many materials, opening a lot of interaction possibilities, including many different communication channels and emotional expressions. We explored human-robot interaction in the application areas listed here below.
I'm focusing on basic issues of Machine Learning, in the quest of the "ML Holy Grail": learning quickly with cheap computers. To do this, we are currently exploring learning systems with cognitive characteristics (curiosity, sociality, selective perception, ...) and systems that could exploit general knowledge to improve Deep Learning.
A set of movies of developed robots are available from the AIRLab YouTube channel.
I believe that it is possible to teach both curricula and transversal skills in the same course, and I'm experimenting innovative teaching approaches, following suggestions by the POLIMI teaching innovation staff.
I'm currently teaching these courses: [Ms] "Uncertainty in AI", "Robotics and Design", "Envisioning AI in Design", and [Bs] and "Artificial Intelligence (IOL)". I've taught "Soft Computing" for more than 20 years, the root from which "Machine Learning", "Neural Networks and Deep Learning" and components of other AI courses offered at POLIMI originated.
I've taught "Uncertainty representation", "Soft Computing", "Designing Interaction" at PhD level, and "Expert Systems and Uncertainty" within professional master courses on AI at CEFRIEL.
I've also offered a course about "Playbot4all: technological toys for all" within the Passion in Action activity of Politecnico di Milano ("Beyond the curriculum: training and passion").
I'm advising PhD Thesis in Information Technology and in Design, Master Thesis in Computer Engineering, Automation, Bioengineering, Design, as well as Bachelor thesis in Biomedical Engineering. Thesis tutored from 2010 are available from the POLIMI Thesis Archive POLITESI.
Here below is a list of some of the currently open thesis proposals. If you are interested in any of these, just drop me an e-mail, with subject starting by [Tesi].
I lead or participate to industrial and competitive projects, as well as non-funded collaborations, to develop common interests.
Among the recent projects I'd like to mention a project with a top toy producing company to improve the technology content of their toys, another project with an end-user service provider to explore the possibilities of a comercial robot platform to support elderly people, and the EU COST Network LUDI: play for children with disabilities, where we exchanged experiences with hundreds of researchers in a multi-disciplinary contest, and produced open source books on the topic.
A PRIN project is now starting in collaboration with designers and special education experts, to produce a family of playing robots (FROB) to be used with people with cognitive impairments.
Among the collaborations, I like to mention the ones with many care centers for robotic toys tests, and the one with Stripes Digitus Labs about the development of technology for teaching purposes.
I'm participating to events both as a speaker and showing robots and research activities done with students. A list of recent events includes a talk at Fondazione Faraggiana ("From Slaves to Robots"), a talk at the A Pint of Science festival ("Can robots have emotions?"), a "Seminario di Formazione" for "Ordine dei Giornalisti" and "Unione Giornalisti Italiani Scientifici" on "AI, a world to know and rule", the Galieo festival ("Come impara l'intelligenza artificiale?"), exhibitions at Maker Faire Europe and at MeetMeTonight (the Milan Researchers' Night), the European Robotics Week.
From October to December 2023 we will participate with VR and Robots to the exhibition "Digital Cities" hosted at POLIMI.
When new developments relevant for media are ready, we contact them through the POLIMI Communication Office, or we are contacted by them to cover hot topics, and usually obtain a quite good coverage. Among topics covered in the past are: soccer robots, an autonomous wheelchair interfaced to a Brain-Computer Interface, autonomous robots for autistic children, an emotion detection bracelet then developed by Empatica (a company establised by my former PhD students), emotional robots, robogames.
. Site created by Andrea Bonarini . . .