STMicroelectronics and the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), an international scientific and technological research centre based in Italy, have signed a formal agreement sealing their long-standing collaboration on a range of research activities, including Robotics, Neuroscience, Energy and Environment, and Health and Safety.
The agreement, which will have an initial duration of three years, will look to build on many years of previous cooperation between the two. The cooperation uses multiple Joint Research Programs to exploit the synergies between IIT’s high-level expertise in long-term megatrends such as robotics, nanotechnology, pattern analysis, and computer vision and ST’s leading-edge know-how in semiconductor technology and design.
“ST has always recognised the value of combining our own commercially-oriented R&D activities with the longer-term work conducted by research institutes and universities,” said Nunzio Abbate, System Lab & Subsystem Product Group General Manager, STMicroelectronics. “This strengthened collaboration with IIT will bring benefits that cascade to our customers and to their projects in a broad range of semiconductor applications.”
“Semiconductor technology plays a pivotal role in enabling the breakthroughs we make in our labs to become real products that benefit the world,” said Salvatore Majorana, Technology Transfer Director, IIT. “ST has an unparalleled track record in delivering results from R&D collaborations and we are confident that this cooperative effort will help us both contribute to addressing many key issues, from smarter energy usage to greater manufacturing productivity to health and wellness.”
The first Joint Research Program between the parties is in Robotics, an area in which IIT and ST already have a history of productive cooperation. These successes were jointly demonstrated at the recently concluded InnoRobo Event 2014 in Lyon, France, where the two partners presented an iCub Humanoid Robot running on ST’s silicon technology.
The most recent version of the well-known iCub Humanoid Robot is powered by more than 20 STM32 F4 microcontrollers combined with cSPIN/dSPIN motor drivers, while ST MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes orientate the robot.
The robot has been designed as an open-source project to establish a common platform for the global research community. It enables the community to develop technologies for embodied machine learning, artificial cognition, and motion control, grasping walking and the hundreds of behavior patterns proper to general-purpose humanoid robots.
More than 25 iCub robots, built by IIT, have already been sold to research institutes around the world.