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Personal profile

Research interests

My current research focuses on building smart spaces combining sensors, actuators and robots working together to accomplish complex tasks while also adapting to new environments and to changing and evolving requirements with minimum human supervision. This can lead to cheaper, smarter and more useful applications for IoT and Robotic technology. My long-term goal is to further the potential of these systems by improving their ability to interact with humans and to operate in a wide range of application domains.


I received a BSc (110/110 Cum Laude) degree in Computer Science from Bologna University, in 1999, and worked as a software developer and project manager in the software industry before returning to academia and receiving a PhD degree from University College Dublin (UCD), in 2009. Between 2009 and 2011 I was a postdoctoral researcher in UCD, where I worked in the Adaptive Information Cluster (AIC) and in the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. I have been co-principal investigator on a number of European/National projects in the area of embedded sensor systems, wireless sensor networks and intelligent buildings spaces including the EU projects FIEMSER (http://www.fiemser.eu/) and HOBNET (http://hobnet-testbeds.eu/). In 2011 I initiated the FP7 project RUBICON (Robotic UBIquitous Cognitive Network, http:/www./fp7rubicon.eu), a 2.5 million EUR project (completed in 2014) that has posed the foundations for self-adaptive ecologies of robotic and sensing devices. I have successfully led an international scientific team exploring this domain, leading to numerous publications, open source software, industrial prototypes and demonstration systems in smart housing and transport. From 2014 to 2016 I was a Research Fellow with the Distributed Systems Group (DSG), School of Computer Science and Statistics.

Since 2016, I am an Assistant Professor at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK. My research expertise includes robotics, human-robot interaction, multi-agent systems, software engineering and internet of things. I am one of the PhD supervisors at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and I am co-investigator in the UK projects ORCA-Hub (orcahub.org) and USMART (research.ncl.ac.uk/usmart), developing intelligent sensors and robot networks for monitoring of underwater environments. I also set up the Robotic Assisted Living Tested, a home-like environment where roboticists and computer scientists, and also usability and health experts, psychologists, and sociologists, can work alongside people with assisted living needs and those supporting them, to co-design and test innovative solutions for healthy ageing and assisted living.

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Research Output

An ambient intelligence approach for learning in smart robotic environments

Bacciu, D., Di Rocco, M., Dragone, M., Gallicchio, C., Micheli, A. & Saffiotti, A., Nov 2019, In : Computational Intelligence. 35, 4, p. 1061-1088 28 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Ocean Monitoring Framework based on Compressive Sensing using Acoustic Sensor Networks

    Mourya, R., Saafin, W., Dragone, M. & Petillot, Y., 10 Jan 2019, OCEANS 2018 MTS/IEEE Charleston. IEEE, 8604663. (OCEANS Conference).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    35 Downloads (Pure)

    Reaching and Grasping of Objects by Humanoid Robots through Visual Servoing

    Ardón Ramirez, P., Dragone, M. & Erden, M. S., 6 Jun 2018, Haptics: Science, Technology, and Applications. Springer, p. 353-365 13 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; vol. 10894).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access
  • 4 Citations (Scopus)
    75 Downloads (Pure)

    Robust TDA-MAC for practical underwater sensor network deployment: Lessons from usmart sea trials

    Morozs, N., Mitchell, P. D., Zakharov, Y., Sherlock, B., Neasham, J. A., Tsimenidis, C. C., Mourya, R., Petillot, Y. R., Gibney, T., Dragone, M., Sayed, M. E., McConnell, A. C., Aracri, S. & Stokes, A. A., 3 Dec 2018, Proceedings of the 13th ACM International Conference on Underwater Networks and Systems. Association for Computing Machinery, 11

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  • 7 Citations (Scopus)

    The Internet of Robotic Things: A review of concept, added value and applications

    Simoens, P., Dragone, M. & Saffiotti, A., 26 Feb 2018, In : International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems. 15, 1, p. 1-11 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

    Open Access
  • 46 Citations (Scopus)
    369 Downloads (Pure)


    Spirit of Heriot-Watt Awards 2017, Outward Looking

    Lane, David Michael (Recipient), Lohan, Katrin Solveig (Recipient), Vargas, Patricia A. (Recipient), Hastie, Helen (Recipient), Broz, Frank (Recipient), Sethu Vijayakumar (Recipient), Michael Hermann (Recipient), Mary Ellen Foster (Recipient), Sabine Hauert (Recipient), Micael S. Couceiro (Recipient), Baillie, Lynne (Recipient), Erden, Mustafa Suphi (Recipient), Iain James McEwen (Recipient), Alistair Campbell McConnell (Recipient), Robert Goodfellow (Recipient), Dragone, Mauro (Recipient), Fulvio Mastrogiovanni (Recipient), Dondrup, Christian (Recipient), Mei Yii Lim (Recipient), Sarah Anne Murphy (Recipient), Vallejo, Marta (Recipient), Siobhan Duncan (Recipient) & Mohd Khairul Azmi Hassan (Recipient), 1 Jul 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Activities

    • 1 Participation in conference
    • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
    • 1 Invited talk

    Workshop of Socially Intelligent Robot and Smart Cities, Where the Smarter World’s Future Lies, euRobotics Forum 2016

    Mauro Dragone (Invited speaker)

    31 Mar 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Developer Conference, ScotSoft2016

    Mauro Dragone (Invited speaker)

    6 Oct 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference