alessandro-roncone
Curriculum Vitae
I am a robotics engineer, a computer scientist, and an interaction designer.

Alessandro Roncone

I am a robotics engineer, a computer scientist, and an interaction designer.

Personal Website: https://alecive.github.io

GitHub Page: http://github.com/alecive

Who am I

My work bridges the gap between robot planning and human–robot interaction. I look at problems that lie at the intersection of these two fields, and I develop human-accessible robot control systems that cooperate with and empower people. I aim at lowering the barriers to entry for humans to naturally interact with robots, and in doing so I implement robot technologies that better interface with the external world and humans. To me, the engineering is as important as the science. As such, I implement technological advancements through production-quality software that uses modern software engineering workflows (versioning, continuous integration, unit testing, containerization). I make robots work, and I hold a deep commitment to doing so while implementing scalable, robust, and elegant code.


  • 7 years’ research experience in Humanoid Robotics, Cognitive Robotics, and Human-Robot Interaction.
  • Extensive background in kinematics, optimization, robot control, decision making, planning under uncertainty, calibration, tactile sensing, machine learning, 2d and 3d computer vision, IMU processing.
  • Mastery of C++, with a deep knowledge of the ROS and YARP middlewares. Daily experience with the iCub humanoid and the Baxter collaborative robot.
  • Proven ability to manage multiple projects and supervise multiple people while meeting challenging deadlines.
  • Strong presentation/communication skills thanks to experience in giving both technical and non-technical talks to both small and big groups, tailoring to the audience. Presented to major international robotics conferences, as well as several outreach events, ranging from exhibitions and fairs, to live TV shows and various interviews.
  • Confident in writing technical reports as well as scientific papers. Authored and co-authored numerous international peer-reviewed scientific articles and journals. Experience with research grant writing.
  • Obsessed by two things: pixel-perfect graphics, and bit-perfect code. This website is intended to showcase the former; for the latter, stalk me on GitHub, or take a look at some of the GitHub organizations I belong to: Robotology and ScazLab.

Summary

Alessandro Roncone received his B.Sc. summa cum laude in Biomedical Engineering in February 2008, and his M.Sc. summa cum laude in NeuroEngineering in July 2011 from the Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy. In April 2015 he completed his Ph.D. in Robotics, Cognition and Interaction Technologies from Università degli studi di Genova and Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), working in the Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the iCub Facility departments under the supervision of prof. Giorgio Metta. The goal of his Ph.D. project was to exploit insights from the neurosciences in order to improve the sensorimotor capabilities of the iCub humanoid robot. He is currently working as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Social Robotics Lab in Yale University, under the supervision of prof. Brian Scassellati (a.k.a. Scaz). He focuses on human robot collaboration and advanced manufacturing.

Professional Experience

Post-Doc @ Yale University

Social Robotics Lab, Computer Science Department, Yale University
The scope of my current research is within the larger field of human-robot collaboration [HRC] and advanced manufacturing, with potential impact in other fields as well. I develop transparent robotic applications, that aim at fundamentally changing the interaction between humans and robots. I implement intuitive, human-centered technologies where robots transition from being recipients of human instructions to becoming proficient and proactive collaborators. My work revolves around the idea that shared knowledge and transparent commitment to the task are central for collaborative behaviors. I incorporate natural language into classical task planning algorithms, with the goal of developing robots that are able to: i) provide effective support to the human when she needs it the most; ii) learn complex hierarchical representations from single instructions; iii) proactively ask questions and provide contextual information to query and share internal states and intents.

Post-Doc @ iCub Facility

I continued the work I started during my Ph.D. fellowship at the iCub Facility. Specifically, I was interested in the exploitation of the peripersonal space model I implemented during my Ph.D., by focusing toward two types of applications: i) better, richer body representations (in collaboration with CITEC @Bielefeld) ii) distributed motor control via whole-body awareness (partially collaborating with WYSIWYD project partners). My research also made contributions to the field of optimization-based approaches to inverse kinematics and robot control. Specifically, I implemented a state of the art gaze stabilization framework---later integrated with an existing gaze controller. My work in the topic formally solved the problem of controlling a binocular head to foveate toward an arbitrary 3D point in space, and concurrently exploiting redundancy to stabilize gaze at the same time. I also contributed to an HRI project aimed at developing natural non-verbal behaviors in the iCub humanoid robot during verbal communication.

Ph.D. Fellow @ iCub Facility

Life and Humanoid Technologies
Doctoral course in Robotics, Cognition and Interaction Technologies. See the `Education` section below for details about my Ph.D. project. I have been involved in the Xperience FP7-ICT-270273 and WYSIWYD FP7-ICT-61239 projects, funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Program with a funding of €7,634,000 and €4,583,016 respectively.

Research Fellow @ RBCS (Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Science)

I have partnered with the Italian Institute of Technology during my MSc thesis. See the `Education` section below for details about my master thesis.

Education

Ph.D. in Life and Humanoid Technologies [Thesis PDF]

Thesis title `Expanding sensorimotor capabilities of humanoid robots through multisensory integration. A study on the implementation of peripersonal space on the iCub.`
By and large, my Ph.D. research had three core contributions: i) I implemented a bio-inspired approach able to integrate multisensory information into a cohesive representation of the nearby space of a robot; ii) I demonstrated for the first time how novel touch sensing technologies can be exploited to dramatically increase the amount of information available to a robot; iii) I provided a compelling use case for this technology, in that I proved how, by imbuing a robot with local information about its nearby space, a distributed robot controller can be implemented that is capable of significantly enhancing the interaction capabilities of a robot with its environment. More precisely, I improved the sensorimotor capabilities of the iCub humanoid with a system able to learn a multisensory representation of the space around the robot's body (or peripersonal space, PPS). The robot, equipped with a whole-body artificial skin, learns the consequences of its interaction with the self and the environment by means of a tactile-motor and tactile-visual representation. The peripersonal space model I implemented has the unique capability of extending the robot's tactile domain toward the nearby space, in such a way that it implicitly copes with modeling or calibration errors. This feature has been then exploited with a sensory-based guidance of the motor actions performed by the robot. That is, an avoidance and reaching controller capable of using any body part in order to either move away from or seek contact with nearby objects.

M.Sc. with honors in NeuroEngineering

Thesis title `Visuo-Haptic Integration for Object Characterization in an Unstructured Environment`
I implemented an SVM-based framework able to integrate visual and haptic information, read from the force/torque sensor of the iCub robot. The system proved successful in improving the vision-based detection of a set of objects by means of the haptic exploration of the same objects.

B.Sc. with honors in Biomedical Engineering

Thesis title `Support Vector Machine Analysis applied to a Manipulator in a Non-Structured Environment`
I used SVMs to train a PUMA robotic arm how to be the goalkeeper in an air hockey game. The robot observed which of the previously experienced puck trajectories scored a point. Based on this, it learned how to prevent such scores by predicting the final outcome of a trajectory from its first 30ms. Its success rate was beyond 95%.

Student (with scholarship) at ISICT

ISICT stands for Institute for Advanced Studies in Information and Communication Technologies. It is a consortium that integrates the courses provided by the University of Genoa with lessons held by industry leaders. The goal is to better prepare students for industry jobs. To this end, I attended a number of additional courses ranging from Marketing to Telecommunications to Aerospace Engineering. I've been also selected for a scholarship, after a thorough examination (only three positions were available among hundreds of candidates).

Publications

2017

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)

Transparent Role Assignment and Task Allocation in Human Robot Collaboration [PDF] [BIB]

Alessandro Roncone, Olivier Mangin, and Brian Scassellati

2016

International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR16)

Physiologically Inspired Blinking Behavior for a Humanoid Robot [PDF] [BIB]

Hagen Lehmann, Alessandro Roncone, Ugo Pattacini, and Giorgio Metta

2016

PLOS ONE

Peripersonal Space and Margin of Safety around the Body: Learning Visuo-tactile Associations in a Humanoid Robot with Artificial Skin [PDF] [BIB]

Alessandro Roncone, Matej Hoffmann, Ugo Pattacini, Luciano Fadiga, and Giorgio Metta

2016

Robotics: Science and Systems

A Cartesian 6-DoF Gaze Controller for Humanoid Robots [PDF] [BIB]

Alessandro Roncone, Ugo Pattacini, Giorgio Metta, and Lorenzo Natale

2015

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

Learning peripersonal space representation through artificial skin for avoidance and reaching with whole body surface [PDF] [BIB]

Alessandro Roncone, Matej Hoffmann, Ugo Pattacini, and Giorgio Metta

2014

IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots

Gaze Stabilization for Humanoid Robots: A Comprehensive Framework [PDF] [BIB]

Alessandro Roncone, Ugo Pattacini, Giorgio Metta, and Lorenzo Natale

2014

IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots

3D Stereo Estimation and Fully Automated Learning of Eye-Hand Coordination in Humanoid Robots [PDF] [BIB]

Sean Ryan Fanello, Ugo Pattacini, Ilaria Gori, Vadim Tikhanoff, Marco Randazzo, Alessandro Roncone, Francesca Odone, and Giorgio Metta

2014

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)

Automatic kinematic chain calibration using artificial skin: self-touch in the iCub humanoid robot [PDF] [BIB]

Alessandro Roncone, Matej Hoffmann, Ugo Pattacini, and Giorgio Metta
It was featured in the IEEE Spectrum Video Friday!

Misc

2018

International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI18)

Member of the Program Committee for HRI18

I am member of the program committee for the thirteenth ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction [HRI18].

2018

International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI18)

Member of the Program Committee for AAAI18

I am member of the program committee for the thirty-second International Conference on Artificial Intelligence [AAAI18], which this year received an exceptional number of submissions (3800).

2017

Robotics Lab

International Ph.D. Thesis Reviewer

External reviewer for the Ph.D. thesis of Raúl Pérula-Martínez, graduated from the Robotics Lab in Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in 2017.

2016

International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR16)

Invited Keynote Speaker @ the Synthetic Method in Social Robotics workshop

I was invited to give a 45 minutes oral presentation. My talk dealt with the topic of Artificial Sociality in mixed human-robot social ecologies in general, and human-robot collaboration in particular.

2015-2016

Intelligent Robotics - CPSC 472

Guest Lecturer at Yale University

During my stay at Yale University, I did two guest lectures at the Intelligent Robotics course held by Prof. Brian Scassellati. Both my lectures were meant to introduce students to the research we perform at the Italian Institute of Technology. The title of my talk was iCub - a shared platform for research in Robotics and AI [PDF].

2015

CBMM 2015 Summer School

Teaching Assistant at the BMM - MIT Summer School

Alessandro Roncone, Carlo Ciliberto, Giulia Pasquale and Raffaello Camoriano
Teaching assistant at the 2015 CBMM Summer School, organized by a number of MIT lab groups and affiliates. I focused on tutoring students during their projects with the iCub. A notable achievement has been the integration of Google Glass onto the YARP framework, that has been later used in order to perform head/gaze teleoperation on the iCub.

2014

IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics

Co-organizer of the Development of body representations in humans and robots workshop

Matej Hoffmann, Alessandro Roncone, Lorenzo Jamone, and Beata Grzyb
Half-day workshop @ICDL-EPIROB 2014 Conference. The goal of the workshop was to explore the possibility of robots developing models inspired by the mechanisms of human body representations. In this way, they can on one hand become new modeling tools for empirical sciences - expanding the domain of computational modeling by anchoring it to the physical environment and a physical body. On the other hand, robot controllers endowed with multimodal whole-body awareness and plasticity typical of humans should give rise to - in robotics unprecedented - autonomy, robustness, and resilience.

2014

International conference on Infant Studies

Modeling the development of body knowledge using humanoid robots

Matej Hoffmann, Alessandro Roncone, Giorgio Metta
Oral presentation at the International Conference on Infant Studies on my work related to the double-touch (made by Matej Hoffmann).

2013

SMLC - Workshop on Synthetic Modeling of Life and Cognition

Modeling the development of human body representations

Matej Hoffmann, Alessandro Roncone
Invited to give an oral presentation at the workshop on Synthetic Modeling of Life and Cognition.

2013-2014

IIT (Italian Institute of Technology)

Researcher of the week

I have been researcher of the week for two times. Despite its name, this award is given very rarely to outstanding research performed in the iCub Facility at IIT. In the past years, only 8 of these awards have been awarded.

Reviewer

I have been a reviewer for the following conferences and journals: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA, 2017, 2016), IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS, 2017, 2016, 2015), Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS, 2016), Frontiers in Robotics and AI (2017), IEEE/RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012), International Journal of Humanoid Robotics (2014), IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL-Epirob 2017, 2016, 2015), IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob, 2016), IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (ROMAN 2014), IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO, 2013).

Graphic Design

FlatWoken Icons

My second icon pack capitalized on the experience I gained while working on the AwOken project, and was a much more refined long-shadow set.

AwOken Icons

My most awarded and recognized graphics projects. It has been downloaded more than a million times in less than one year, and has been for a while the most downloaded icon set on Linux. Ever.

Jul. - Oct. 2013

Coop la Lucerna

Icon Designer in Outsourcing

Coop la Lucerna is a farm right in the middle of Pianura Padana, IT. During the process of restructuring their online offerings, they contacted me in order to implemented a set of icons for their website. The icons were a set of 20 vegetables, rendered in a flat and minimal look.

Oct. - Dec. 2011

Magor Corp.

Icon Designer in Outsourcing

I have been contacted in order to design a new set of icons for their tele-collaboration software (a Skype-like alternative oriented toward telepresence and teleconference). I designed a total of 30 icons.

Feb. - Mar. 2010

The Castle Project

Icon Designer in Outsourcing

I implemented a set of icons for their website. It was a non-profit organization based in Edinburgh aimed toward taking care of drug- and alcohol- addicts, so I had some fun in designing some drug-related icons.

Skills and Technical Expertise

The following is a list of my so-called skills, i.e. a set of progress bars that have little meaning and are totally subjective. They fall short in depicting who I really am, but they are a fair rundown of my practical talents nonetheless.

Robots & Platforms:

iCub 97% YARP 92% Baxter 88% ROS 84%
97% Complete
iCub 97%
92% Complete
YARP 92%
88% Complete
Baxter 88%
84% Complete
ROS 84%

Robotics & AI:

Kinematics 90% Non-Linear Optimization 85% Decision Making 75% Planning under uncertainty 70% 2D/3D Computer Vision 80% Calibration 75% Control 65% Machine Learning 60% Tactile Sensing 85% Sensor Fusion 55% Filtering 60% IMU Processing 85%
90% Complete
Kinematics 90%
85% Complete
Non-Linear Optimization 85%
75% Complete
Decision Making 75%
70% Complete
Planning under uncertainty 70%
80% Complete
2D/3D Computer Vision 80%
75% Complete
Calibration 75%
65% Complete
Control 65%
60% Complete
Machine Learning 60%
85% Complete
Tactile Sensing 85%
55% Complete
Sensor Fusion 55%
60% Complete
Filtering 60%
85% Complete
IMU Processing 85%

Programming:

C++ 95% Matlab 85% CMake 75% Bash 65% CSS3 & HTML5 90% R 30% Python 35% Android/Java 45%
95% Complete
C++ 95%
85% Complete
Matlab 85%
75% Complete
CMake 75%
65% Complete
Bash 65%
90% Complete
CSS3 & HTML5 90%
30% Complete
R 30%
35% Complete
Python 35%
45% Complete
Android/Java 45%

OS/Software:

Linux 95% Windows 40% git 94% svn 70% cvs 40% Continous Integration 88% Unit Testing 78% Debugging 78% Docker 64% UX/UI 88% Gimp 80% Inkscape 90%
95% Complete
Linux 95%
40% Complete
Windows 40%
94% Complete
git 94%
70% Complete
svn 70%
40% Complete
cvs 40%
88% Complete
Continous Integration 88%
78% Complete
Unit Testing 78%
78% Complete
Debugging 78%
64% Complete
Docker 64%
88% Complete
UX/UI 88%
80% Complete
Gimp 80%
90% Complete
Inkscape 90%

Languages:

Italian 99% English 93%
99% Complete
Italian 99%
93% Complete
English 93%

This CV has been auto-magically generated from the correspondent page on my personal website. For this reason, there may be some formatting problems here and there. Compilation Date: October 13, 2017