Dr. Marcello Calisti received the BSc in Mechanical Engineering from University of Perugia in 2005, the MSc in Biomedical Engineering from University of Firenze in 2008, and the PhD in Biorobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in 2012. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna. His research interests lie in the intersection among the domains of bioinspiration, underwater robotics, soft robotics and robot locomotion. He collaborated in several European Projects, such as OCTOPUS IP, RoboSoft CA, ECSEL SWARMs, and in National Projects such as PoseiDRONE. In 2017 he was the recipient of an Early Career Grant of the National Geographic Society, earned with the project SILVER (Seabed-interaction Legged Vehicle for Exploration and Research. He is currently Principal Investigator of Blue Resolution, a project with focus on the application of underwater legged robots to monitor and clean the ocean. He is author or co-author of more than 25 peer-reviewed papers. He is a member of the IEEE since 2008 and National Geographic Explorer since 2017.
Soft robots for benthic exploration
Interactions among the underwater environment and robots are challenging. With respect to terrestrial robots, underwater ones are subject to current disturbances, delay in dynamic response, sensor limitations, and several other issues which pose significant requests to control algorithms. In this talk I will present the role of compliant components in the design and control of unconventional underwater robots, e.g. robots made of soft materials or that can move onto the seabed with legs. The relationships between the underwater environment, simple control signals, and the body of the robot are harnessed to achieve reliable locomotion or manipulation. The role of compliant elements will be highlighted in the context of underwater legged locomotion, a paradigmatic behavior which showcases the advantages of deforming a body in presence of shape-dependent forces. In my approach I tried an alternative path, with respect to the development of novel algorithms, which could generate a novel breed of underwater vehicles or enhance existing robotic systems.