Metta Giorgio Metta

Peripersonal space

Multisensory Integration & the iCub robot

Giorgio Metta

Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), Italy


The iCub is a humanoid robot designed to support research in embodied AI. At 104 cm tall, the iCub has the size of a five-year-old child. It can crawl on all fours, walk, and sit up to manipulate objects. Its hands have been designed to support sophisticate manipulation skills. The iCub is distributed as Open Source following the GPL licenses ( More than 50 robots have been built so far which are available in laboratories across Europe, US, Korea, Singapore, and Japan. It is one of the few platforms in the world with a sensitive full-body skin to deal with the physical interaction with the environment including possibly people. In this talk, I will speak about embodied intelligence – in the brain and machines alike, visuo-tactile integration and, more specifically, on some past work on iCub’s concept of peripersonal space.


Giorgio Metta is the scientific director of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT).
He holds an MSc with honors (1994) and a PhD (2000) in electrical engineering from the University of Genoa. From 2001 to 2002, he was a postdoctoral associate at the prestigious AI-Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He worked at the University of Genoa and was Professor of Cognitive Robotics at the University of Plymouth (UK) from 2012 to 2019. From 2020 to 2021 he was Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, UK.
He managed the relationships with funding bodies and international relations on behalf of IIT, and in this role he was a member of the board of directors of euRobotics aisbl, the umbrella association for European robotics. Giorgio Metta served as deputy scientific director of IIT from 2016 to 2019. He has coordinated participation in two of the Ministry of Economic Development's competence centers for Industry 4.0 (ARTES4.0, START4.0), for which he has served as a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Board, respectively, until October 2023. He was one of the three Italian representatives at the 2018 G7 forum on Artificial Intelligence and, more recently, one of the authors of the Italian Strategic Agenda on Artificial Intelligence; he is a member of the Governing Board of Digital Innovation Hub Liguria, of the Scientific Council of Humane Technology Lab of the Catholic University, Scientific Advisor of A*STAR Singapore, member of the BoD of RAISE Scarl (a project funded by PNRR), of the Executive Board for Digital Next Generation of the Liguria Region, of the Scientific Technical Board of RINA S.p.A. and on the BoD of Gefran S.p.A. and the Board of Directors of Industrie De Nora S.p.A..
Giorgio Metta's research activities are in the field of bioinspired systems and humanoid robotics, with a focus on the design of machines that can learn from experience; he has authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific publications and worked as PI on about a dozen international and industrial research projects. He has coordinated the development of the iCub robot for more than a decade, making it the de facto platform of choice for research in AI; there are currently more than 50 robots in the world, in research labs as far as as Japan, China, Singapore, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US.