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The secrets of octopus suckers

27 November 2013 - Our work "Structure and mechanical properties of Octopus vulgaris suckers" published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface has earned a mention in The Royal Society – News, The secrets of octopus suckers.

Royal Society


IIT start-up SEM+ wins the Intel Business Challenge Europe 2013

SEM-main-foto24th June 2013 – SEM+, the start-up of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), won the first prize in the Intel Business Challenge Europe granting itself the partecipation in the final phase of the Intel® Global Challenge, one of the most important worldwide competitions aimed to sustain and promote the enterpreneurship of the most innovative tecnologies, which is going to take place in Berkley, University of California, next October. The Italian start-up, born in the IIT labs of Genoa and Pontedera (Pisa), got the prestigious award in Dublin after two days of intense challenge with 24 projects coming from all Europe, and among those, 8 ones coming from Italy.

SEM+ (Sensing ElectroMagnetic Plus) develops a new technology patented by the IIT which revolutionize the daily technology on which touch-screen are based: they are flexible touch modules which can record the applied pression as well as the surface’s shape; they can be used, in electronics devices, also in clothing, soft robot and many more application fields, such as recording of posture in rehabilitation.

The SEM+ founders Alessandro Levi, Silvano Furlan e Matteo Piovanelli, are PhD students of the Scuola Superiore S.Anna and they carry on their research in the Center of Micro-Bio Robotics (CMBR) of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, founded 4 years ago at S.Anna in Pontedera. The research’s activity of the three young researchers is coordinated by Barbara Mazzolai, director of the center CMBR of IIT and Lucia Beccai, IIT researcher.

“The success of this newly born start-up in the Intel Business Challenge Europe is for us a great pride - says Roberto Cingolani, Scientific Director of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia - it stems from a very important research branch of the Istituto Italiano di tecnologia which is the one of the tactile sensors and flexible displays. It is the result of the strenous and innovative work of our young reaserchers, by the excellent team work between IIT and S.Anna in Pontedera, and last but not least, from the superb scientific coordination between Barbara Mazzolai e Lucia Beccai. SEM+ like all our other start-ups, demonstrates that the IIT has established itself as a training camp not only for high level scientific talents but also for potential enterpreneurs of high technology”.

The SEM+ technology already awarded by Intel last November during the Premio Nazionale dell’Innovazione event, introduces more versatility in the common tactile interfaces: it is robust, flexible and  it can be adapted to the shape of any surface and it is multi-touch and sensible to the pression of different touches, rendering more natural the interaction between users and displays. SEM+, which in the last year has gained in his funding a TT Seed budget, has today headquartes in the Silicon Valley.

"SEM+ - add Carlo Parmeggiani, Director of the Public Sector Intel Sud Europa – it is not only a clever and innovative project which we’ll hear about a lot in the future, but also it is an example of the talent of many young Italians, that once it is fostered and sustained by innovation structures and excellence research, it can give life to exciting results. Also thanks to the precious contribution of the IIT in Genoa and its reasearchers, this year Italy has competed and won for the first time in history at the Intel Business Challenge Europe with a high-tech avant-garde project, the same kind people tend to imagine only in the American Silicon Valley. This is fostering in us the hope for a success even more important at international level at the American finals. The innovation made in Italy of the advance technologies can really play a role as protagonist now.”

Spin your thesis!

spin-your-thesis-350pxCampagna Esa 2013 "Spin your thesis!", selezionato il gruppo dei Perfezionandi in Biorobotica

Quattro gruppi di Dottorandi scelti in tutta Europa, e di questi uno è composto da Perfezionandi in Biorobotica della Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, che svolgono il proprio dottorato presso il Centro di Micro-BioRobotica dell'Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia a Pontedera: l'Agenzia Spaziale Europea (ESA) ha selezionato fra numerosi concorrenti il team pisano per la realizzazione di esperimenti in regime di gravità alterata presso la “Large Diameter Centrifuge”, una strumentazione in grado di permettere la conduzione di esperimenti in condizioni di ipergravità, fino a 20 volte quella terrestre, il tutto nell'ambito della campagna 2013 “Spin Your Thesis!”

Il team sta portando avanti un progetto volto a valutare l'effetto della gravità e di altri stimoli fisici sull'accrescimento e sulla differenziazione di osteoblasti (precursori di cellule ossee). Della squadra fanno parte Attilio Marino e Antonella Rocca, sotto la supervisione di Gianni Ciofani, Barbara Mazzolai e Virgilio Mattoli, rispettivamente post-doc, coordinatore e team leader del centro IIT di Pontedera.

Gli esperimenti si svolgeranno in autunno presso l'ESTEC (European Space Research and Technology Centre) di Noordwijk, (Olanda), e potrebbero consentire una maggiore comprensione delle cause dei già noti effetti fisiologici e biologici che le alterazioni della forza di gravità comportano sugli organismi viventi.

Workshop: Learning from the plant kingdom to invent smart artificial solutions

We are proud to announce the following workshop on learning from the plant kingdom to invent smart artificial solutions to be held on July 29, 2013 at the Imperial College of London.

For for information download the program.
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