perla Positions

Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow, Engineering Science Department, University of Oxford ,and Brasenose College.


BEng(University of Genoa), Meng(University of Genoa), PhD(university of Genoa).

Academic Background

P. Maiolino received her Ph.D. in Robotics from the University of Genoa as well as her BEng and MEng. in Robotics and Automation. During her PhD she carried out research on the development and integration of distributed tactile sensor for robots, developing new technological solutions for artificial robot skin (CySkin). CySkin Technology has been shown at the “Robots” Exhibition at the Science Museum in London. From October 2017 to September 2018 she joined the Biologically Inspired Robotics Lab (BIRL) at the University of Cambridge, pursuing research related to soft robotics and soft tactile perception.

Undergraduate Teaching

I teach mainly Electronic and Information Engineering subjects. First year: Circuit Analysis, Digital Electronics and Active Devices, Electricity and Magnetism. Second year: Introduction to Control Theory, Signal conditioning, Microcontroller Systems, Discrete Systems and Electromagnetism and Communications, and Electrical Machines.

Research Interests

Perla Maiolino is interested in providing robots with the sense of touch. It is an essential modality that allows humans to interact with environment and people. it is used in manipulation and grasping of objects, whole body interaction, in exploration and in reactive behaviour (reflexes). Furthermore, it is important for assessing contact parameters such as shape, texture, stiffness and temperature of the touched surface, for developing awareness of the body and for automatic responses (grasp force regulation). Sense of touch is also crucial for guiding motor behaviour (e.g, from controlling the body to perceiving the environment, as well as learning about and interacting with it).

New generations of robots are expected to operate in the dynamic and unstructured environment even more in collaboration with humans. Robots operating in these conditions must exhibit advanced forms of interaction with objects and humans requiring novel solutions in human-robot interaction processes. In this respect soft robotic devices are of particular interest to the robotics community because they have advantageous properties such as easy fabrication, low-cost, light weight, high flexibility, etc., but characterising and predicting their behaviour is challenging due to the non-linear nature of the hyper-elastic material and their internal pressure. In order to control them it is necessary to monitor their kinematics, their interaction forces with objects in the environment and their internal pressure. For these reasons, Perla's research is focused on the design of new technological solutions for tactile sensors to be integrated on soft robots. These soft tactile sensors will improve tactile based control of soft robots and will allow to investigate aspects such as sensory-motor coordination and how action and perception are coupled in a soft embodiment which are at the base of the effective utilisation of touch sensing for improving cognitive skills of robots.

Publications include

Model-Free Soft-Structure Reconstruction for Proprioception Using Tactile Arrays. L Scimeca, J Hughes, P Maiolino, F Iida. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 4 (3), 2479-248, 2019

Non-Destructive Robotic Assessment of Mango Ripeness via Multi-Point Soft Haptics. L Scimeca, CC Daniel, P Angel, M Antonio, F Iida 2019. Contact Modelling and Tactile Data Processing for Robot Skins W Wasko, A Albini, P Maiolino, F Mastrogiovanni, G Cannata Sensors 19, 814, 2019

An anthropomorphic soft skeleton hand exploiting conditional models for piano playing. JAE Hughes, P Maiolino, F Iida Science Robotics 3 (25), eaau3098, 2, 2018

Achieving Robotically Peeled Lettuce. J Hughes, L Scimeca, I Ifrim, P Maiolino, F Iida. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 3 (4), 4337-4342, 2018

Soft morphological processing of tactile stimuli for autonomous category formation. L Scimeca, P Maiolino, F Iida 2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft), 356-361, 2, 2018

A Variable Stiffness Robotic Probe for Soft Tissue Palpation. N Herzig, P Maiolino, F Iida, T Nanayakkara. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 3 (2), 1168-1175, 5, 2018

Development of an integrated tactile sensor system for clothes manipulation and classification using industrial grippers S Denei, P Maiolino, E Baglini, G Cannata. IEEE Sensors Journal 17 (19), 6385-6396, 3, 2017

Skinning a robot: Design methodologies for large-scale robot skin. P Maiolino, F Mastrogiovanni, G Cannata. IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine 23 (4), 150-159, 8, 2016

A flexible and robust large scale capacitive tactile system for robots. P Maiolino, M Maggiali, G Cannata, G Metta, L Natale. IEEE Sensors Journal 13 (10), 3910-3917, 114, 2013

Methods and technologies for the implementation of large-scale robot tactile sensors. A Schmitz, P Maiolino, M Maggiali, L Natale, G Cannata, G Metta. IEEE Transactions on Robotics 27 (3), 389-400, 2011

Email address

[email protected]


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