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The iCub humanoid robot: a hands-on course

A “bring-your-own-laptop” course with guidance, instruction, and support from:

Giorgio Metta, Lorenzo Natale, Francesco Nori, Paul Fitzpatrick

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genoa, ITALY

Organized by: Giorgio Metta, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Tomaso Poggio, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT & Lorenzo Rosasco, IIT@MIT Lab Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

Date & place: Jan 30th to Feb 3rd, 2012 on the MIT campus: 46-5189


The iCub is the humanoid robot developed as part of the EU project RobotCub and subsequently adopted by more than 20 laboratories worldwide. It has 53 motors that move the head, arms & hands, waist, and legs. It can see and hear, it has the sense of proprioception (body configuration) and movement (using accelerometers and gyroscopes). We are working to improve on this in order to give the iCub the sense of touch and to grade how much force it exerts on the environment. The iCub is completely Open Source both in hardware and software. This IAP course serves to disseminate skills in software engineering for humanoid robots. Our goal is to foster academic collaboration on robot software across the boundaries and lifetimes of individual projects. For further information visit:

Workshop concept

The course is organized as a "code sprint" to pull together all the software needed to make a humanoid work - control and perception algorithms for its head, hand, arm, legs, and full body. It is organized as a peer-to-peer event: there are little formal lectures and lot of free programming time on a real humanoid robot. All participants are expected to be competent C/C++ programmers with an interest in working with others like them. The schedule will be organized flexibly around informal tutorials. The bulk of our time will be spent working together to integrate modules and implement interesting behaviors for humanoid robots.


A full iCub will be available to students for the duration of the course (5 days). The robot is equipped with cameras, microphones, encoders, force/torque sensors, sensorized skin, gyros, accelerometers and controls 53 motors.

Target and Registration

The course is open to any interested student and researcher. Registration is required and should be done sending an e-mail to lrosasco_(at) (and cc giorgio.metta_(at)


Max number of participants is 25.

The course is similar in spirit to the yearly iCub Summer School, see for example and see also the IAP website

The School Wiki



LogoEU.png This event in particular and the iCub project in general are kindly supported by the Cognitive Systems and Robotics program of the European Commission through the Xperience project.
Icub la.jpg
Icub science.jpg

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