IURS 2009


 Summer School on Visuomotor Interaction


September, 14-18, 2009, Bonaire Hotel, Benicàssim, SPAIN


This year the Robotic Intelligence Lab of Jaume-I University, has joined efforts with the partners of the FP7 European Project EYESHOTS to organize a major event on the subject of visuomotor interaction in natural and artificial agents.

International experts coming from different disciplines such as neurophysiology, cognitive sciences, computational neurosciences and autonomous and bio-inspired robotics will meet to provide the assistants with an exhaustive overview of the different aspects related to the coordinated control of visual behaviors and purposeful limb movements.

The school will be highly interdisciplinary, due to all lecturers experience in cross-disciplinary research and international cutting-edge project involvement.


Aims and scope

The core subject of the summer school is the interplay between vision and motion control, and the way this interplay can be exploited in order to achieve a knowledge of the surrounding environment that allows intelligent agents to properly interact with it.

A complete and operative cognition of the visual space can be achieved only through active exploration, and the natural effectors of this cognition are the eyes and the arms. The contextual control and use of arm and eye movements, and the gathering and integrated use of visual with somatosensory and tactile information allow primates to build a consistent representation of their peripersonal space. In this school we will learn about how these visuomotor mechanisms are managed by the primate brain, and how the robotics community is taking inspiration from them in order to improve the capabilities of robots in their interaction with the environment. Related issues that will be included in the school are stereoscopic vision, object recognition, dynamic shifts of attention, 3D space perception including eye and arm movements.

The school is dedicated to researchers interested in all theoretical and practical aspects related to the visuomotor mechanisms which allow an autonomous agent to interact with the environment through active exploration. We expect and encourage the participation of people with both technological and/or life sciences background, with the purpose of making the meeting highly interdisciplinary. As a result of this cross-fertilization, we would expect that as we learn more about the neurophysiology of living beings, we will be able to build better robots and, conversely, the construction and programming of robots may provide new hypotheses for the study of neural mechanisms.

The participants will get in touch with other young researchers in the field and will have the opportunity to improve their knowledge through the tutorials given by experts. Another important objective is to provide graduate students a unique training opportunity in this emergent and fast-evolving field. Students will closely interact for one week with some of the top-level researchers in the world in this domain. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their research work with these researchers, as well as with other students.


List of Lecturers/Organizers with short CV

Michele Rucci (Boston University, US)

He received his Laurea and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Florence and the Scuola Superiore S. Anna in Pisa, respectively. Before joining Boston University, he was a Fellow in Computational Neuroscience at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego. At Boston University, Dr. Rucci founded and directs the Active Perception Laboratory, a facility dedicated to the analysis of the perceptual influences of behavior.
Dr. Rucci's research follows an interdisciplinary approach that integrates experiments in visual psychophysics with computational models of the brain and the embodiment of neuronal models in robotic systems. His work has raised specific hypotheses regarding the influences of eye movements during visual development and in the neural encoding of visual information. This research has also demonstrated the involvement of fixational eye movements in fine spatial vision, produced a new system for experimental studies of visual neuroscience, and led to the development of robots directly controlled by models of the brain.
Official website: http://aplab.bu.edu/michele/.

Casper J. Erkelens (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

Full Professor and Head of the Department of Physics, he is also director of the Helmholtz Research School of Utrecht University. His research focuses on binocular eye movements and stereoscopic vision, and he directs projects on eye-hand cooordination, eye movements to illusions, motion and form-from-motion, disparity detection and visual search in natural scenes.
Official website: http://www.phys.uu.nl/~wwwpm/PercMot/erkelens.html.

Giorgio Cannata (Università di Genova, Italy)

Professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Genova, he is currently the scientific responsible of the Mechatronics and Automatic Control Laboratory (MACLAB) of the Department of Communication, Computer and System Sciences (DIST). He has been principal investigator in various Italian National projects and European international projects and has been awarded in 1992 with the prestigious Cameli Prize by the Association of the Italian Electrical Engineers.
His main research interests are in the area of automatic control systems and real-time distributed control architectures for robotic, mechatronic and embedded systems, including robot control theory, control of mechanical systems, dynamic simulation, theory of dynamic implicit systems. His Lab is now researching and implementing bio-inspired mechanisms for the control of anthropomorphic robotic heads and advanced stereoscopic vision systems.
Official website: http://www.dist.unige.it/cannata.

Patrizia Fattori (Università di Bologna, Italy)

Professor of Physiology, her research focuses on monkey studies aimed at clarifying the neural and cognitive processes that stand behind the visuomotor coordination between visual information, gaze direction and arm movements. She has participated and directed national and international projects, and collaborated in interdisciplinary research with robotics labs. She is interested in the neural mechanisms that lead from vision to action, specifically when prehension actions are performed with the hand. She has many interests in the Robotic and Computational applications of her researches; she is member of the Interdipartimental Research Group, University of Bologna: 'Neuromathematics and Visual Cognition'.
Official website: http://www.gallettilab.unibo.it.

Claudio Galletti  (Università di Bologna, Italy)

Full Professor in the Department of Human and General Physiology, he is Dean of Faculty and Director of the laboratory of Vision for Action. He has about 40 years of experience in the study of the neurophysiology of vision and visuomotor processes. He was awarded in 1997 with the Golden Brain Award of Minerva Foundation (Berkeley, USA) "for his pioneering discoveries of the function of the visual brain".
The lab directed by Claudio Galletti has participated in several national and international research projects, including interdisciplinary ones with robotics partners. The research carried out in his lab is constantly leading to fundamental findings in the field of visual perception and coordinated eye and arm movements, published in several influential international journals.
Official website: http://www.gallettilab.unibo.it.

Fred Hamker (Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany)

Assistant Professor in General and Neuro Cognitive Psychology, he leads an independent research group which research is focused on the areas of visual attention, object recognition and the cognitive control of vision. He has participated and directed national and international projects and collaborated with many important laboratories in Europe and USA.
Official website: http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/informatik/KI/fhamker.php.

Markus Lappe (Westfälische Wilhems-University Münster, Germany)

Full Professor at the Department of General and Applied Psychology, his current research interests are in the area of Human vision, Eye-movements, and Action and Perception, including Visual motion perception, Biological Motion Analysis, Computer Vision and Neural Networks. He has been principal investigator in various German National projects, European international projects and Human Frontier Science. In 1992 Markus Lappe was awarded the Biofuture Prize by the German Ministry for Research and Education.
Official website: http://wwwpsy.uni-muenster.de/Psychologie.inst2/AELappe/en/.

Silvio Sabatini (Università di Genova, Italy)

Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Genoa, he was the promoter of the 'Physical Structure of Perception and Computation' (PSPC) Research Group at DIBE, to develop models of the information processing in the visual cortex and build novel algorithms and hardware devices for artificial perception machines.  His research interests include biocybernetics of vision, theoretical neuroscience, neuromorphic engineering, and artificial vision. He is the coordinator of the European Commission 7th framework project EYESHOTS.
Official website: http://www.pspc.dibe.unige.it/.

Mark Van Hulle (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)

He is Full Professor at the Medical School, where he heads the Computational Neuroscience group of the Laboratorium voor Neuro- en Psychofysiologie. He has a long experience on the modeling of brain mechanisms and on artificial intelligence techniques. He has collaborated with several important research labs in Europe and USA (among others, the MIT in Boston), and participated in many different European Projects. He received in 2003 the prize Doctor Technices from the Queen of Denmark for his scientific contribution.
Official website: http://simone.neuro.kuleuven.be/marccv.html.

Rosana I. Matuk Herrera (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Teaching assistant at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, she currently cooperates with the Motor Neuroscience Laboratory, School of Medicine, of the same university. Her research interests includes neuro-robotics, motor neuroscience, tactile perception, and in particular robotic dexterous manipulation in unknown environments. She has been a visiting researcher at the Dipartimento di Informatica, Universita di Pisa, and the ARTS Lab, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa.




Sunday 13

Monday 14

Tuesday 15

Wednesday 16

Thursday 17

Friday 18



Reception at the Bonaire Hotel


Poster session

BUS to University

Student presentations

Student presentations



Active perception in biological and artificial systems

M. Rucci

Vision with jittering eyes

M. Rucci

Technical session

Interaction of monocular and binocular vision

C.J. Erkelens

Coding of depth in the oculomotor system

C.J. Erkelens


Coffee Break

Coffee Break

Coffee Break

Coffee Break

Coffee Break



Neural encoding of visual space and motion

 C. Galletti

The dorso-medial visual stream in visuomotor interactions

P. Fattori

 Technical session

Tactile exploration of the near space

R. Matuk

Antropomorphic robot heads

G. Cannata









Learning from examples

M. Van Hulle

3D dynamic perception in humans and machines

S.P. Sabatini

Technical session

Free afternoon for social and sport activities

Closing ceremony


Coffee Break

Coffee Break

Coffee Break



Eye movements in spatial exploration and representation

M. Lappe

Attentive Cognitive Agents

F. Hamker

Technical session


Welcome cocktail




Dinner with
Karaoke party



General Chair: Organization Chair:
Angel P. del Pobil
Jaume-I University, Spain
Eris Chinellato
Jaume-I University, Spain
Program chairs:
Silvio P. Sabatini
Università di Genova, Italy
Markus Lappe
Universität Münster, Germany


Scientific Committee:

  • Claudio Galletti (Università di Bologna, Italy)
  • Mark Van Hulle (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
  • Fred Hamker (Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany)
  • Giorgio Cannata (Università di Genova, Italy)
  • Patrizia Fattori (Università di Bologna, Italy)


Local Organization:

  • Pedro Sanz Valero
  • Enric Cervera y Mateu
  • Raúl Marín Prades
  • Antonio Morales Escrig
  • Gabriel Recatalá Ballester
  • Patricio Nebot Roglá
  • Mario Prats Sánchez
  • Raul Wirz Gonzalez
  • Juan Carlos García Sánchez
  • Ester Martínez
  • Beata J. Grzyb
  • Javier Felip León
  • Jorge Sales Gil