Dr Maria Elena Giannaccini
Dr Elena Giannaccini graduated with honors in Biomedical Engineering from the Università di Pisa and in 2015 obtained her PhD in Robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory as an Early Stage Researcher in the Marie-Curie ITN project INTRO. Since her PhD, Elena has worked at various research positions, most recently at the University of Bristol. In 2019 Elena was appointed as a Lecturer in Robotics at the University of Aberdeen.
Dr Elena Giannaccini's expertise is in the fields of bioinspiration, mechatronics, soft robotics, robot sensing and safety in human-robot interaction. She is driven by her passion for designing and building robotic platforms for medical robotics and safe physical interaction between humans and robots, which finds a very relevant application in advanced manufacturing. In her recent post at the University of Bristol, she co-designed a ground-breaking artificial, implantable larynx as part of the Wellcome Trust-funded RoboVox project, this medical implant is currently being considered for a patent. Previously, she worked on the control of a pneumatic, soft and continuum robot arm inspired by hydrostatic skeletons, the subject of the 9th most read paper in the Soft Robotics Journal in 2018. She has also gained a broad range of expertise covering robot grasping, tactile sensing, morphological computation, designing variable compliance platforms and smart materials. This multidisciplinary background is fundamental to work in robotics, field that requires a wide variety of skills and knowledge. Her eight years of first hand research activities at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, were instrumental in acquiring and developing this core knowledge.
Her research vision for the future is to develop and exploit bioinspired soft robotics in fields such as innovative healthcare solutions and ground-breaking technological applications. The topics of this work will naturally lend themselves to developing strong collaborations involving both universities and industry.
Funding and Grants
The growing global need for novel healthcare and effective robotic industrial solutions show the timeliness, relevance and potential impact of my research, which is currently being formalised in a EPSRC New Investigator Award research funding bid. She actively identifies and pursues funding opportunities, which resulted in her award of the University of Bristol Research Priming Funds and being Co-Investigator on the successful EPSRC Impact Acceleration bid for Neuromorphic Tactile Sensing. She recently won a £3,000 Binks Trust grant to develop research cooperations with the Technical University of Munich.