Marcello Calisti


Dr. Marcello Calisti received the BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Uni-

versity of Perugia in 2005, the MSc in Biomedical Engineering from Univer-

sity 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 fo-

cus 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



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 dis-

turbances, delay in dynamic response, sensor limitations, and several other

issues which pose signi cant requests to control algorithms. In this talk I will

present the role of compliant components in the design and control of uncon-

ventional 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 ele-

ments 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 alterna-

tive path, with respect to the development of novel algorithms, which could

generate a novel breed of underwater vehicles or enhance existing robotic