Sunday, June 3, 2018

Rome Day 3: Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the National Research Council, and The Vatican

We started the day taking a bus to the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the National Research Council, and met our guide Vitto Trianni there. We began by learning a little bit about the NRC. It was established in 1923 and their mission is to carry out the research of all 101 of their institutes.
We started the day taking a bus to the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the National Research Council, and met our guide Vitto Trianni there. We began by learning a little bit about the NRC. It was established in 1923 and their mission is to carry out the research of all 101 of their institutes.

The ICST includes many types of research including linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience, philosophy and many more. All of the areas can be brought back to “mind studies” and how the mind can bring forth intelligent behavior. There three main areas of research include biological models of cognition, psychology of cognitive processes, cognitive models and technologies. Vitto, along with four other researchers, gave us presentations about which specific project each of them are working on such as evolutionary robotics, planning and scheduling technology laboratory, Laboratory of Computational Embodied Neuroscience and Swarm Robotics.

After the presentations, we were able to visit the lab and see some of the projects in action! The first one we saw was the iCub. Using ROS technology, they were able to teach the robot to react to movement from the room. If someone were to wave their hand with a lot of motion, it turned its head to that spot. The eyebrows even moved when he found something new to look at!


The next robot was specifically made for elderly people with Alzheimer’s. First, someone close to them would make a profile for the person, including things about the person such as what they like to talk about, photos from the past, games and even the news. The screen on it is really easy to use in case the person forgets how to use it from one day to the next. The elderly person can even talk to it like a person and it can respond in different ways depending on how the person responds.



After going to ISCT, we took buses to The Vatican! We ate some lunch then we used audio tours to visit The Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.




After a long day of technical visits and tours around the Vatican, we were hungry and went to get some pasta called “Casio e Pepe” cheese and pepper pasta! It was delicious!




After dinner we felt a little homesick, so we decided to visit an “ice bar” which was made of ice and was a nice 20 degrees Fahrenheit! We felt right at home.



-Natalie W.

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