Humanoid robotics and the creation of a specialized postgraduate school will be among the priorities for the controversial new Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), the institute's scientific committee announced last week.

The institute was conceived on the model of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Japan's Waseda University and is expected to become fully operational by 2006. It will have its headquarters and labs near Genova, where it will set up three "ultra-high tech, synergetic" platforms: bionanotechnology, neurosciences, and automation and robotics, according to an official statement.

"Our goal is to combine these three platforms. The result will be an interdisciplinary program for the development of… innovative robotic systems," said Roberto Cingolani, the newly appointed scientific director of the IIT and professor of physics at University of Lecce's Department of Innovation Engineering.

The decision to focus on humanoid robotics is consistent with the government's goal of generating research that...

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