Technical consulting and advisory in the area of biomedical signal acquisition, calibration and processing, particularly regarding the development of a specialized type of pulse oximeter.
Founder & CEO
Pervasive Edge S.r.l.s. is a newly-formed company located in Trento, situated in the north-eastern alpine region of Italy. It is a lean entity based on the model of a “network organization”. Its primary mission is acting as a hub and gateway towards a constellation of Italian and worldwide excellences across the fields of electronic design and manufacturing, system and software development, covering a broad range of requirements and applications. While in the process of identifying and developing a series of own edge computing-focused products spanning from electrical safety to agrifood, at present we mainly offer consulting and contracted research & development services to a few selected third parties.
Apr 2020 - current | Visiting associate professor
Jun 2017 - Mar 2020 | Specially-appointed associate professor
Jul-Sep 2016 | Adjunct associate professor
Under these intermittent, temporally-flexible appointments, he has been funded by the World Research Hub Initiative (WRHI) program and remains an affiliated member of the research group of Prof. Yasuharu Koike. He focuses on developing new robotic and brain-computer interface (BCI) systems, while also doing collaborative research on many other topics related to complex systems and non-linear electronics.
Accomplishments in these positions include:
i) developing a hybrid BCI system combining a consumer-grade wearable headset with a robotic manipulator guided by a stereoscopic vision system,
ii) developing a bio-inspired hierarchical controller for a hexapod robot based on a network of non-linear oscillators implemented using field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs), which generates a broad range insect-like gaits and postures based on few parameters [info: here],
iii) introducing a new measure of so-called warped phase synchronization, which blends phase and amplitude information aiding the extraction of information from complex signals [info: here],
iv) introducing a new implementation of an intergrated-circuit chaos generator based on current-starved inverter rings, offering high versatility and low power [info: here],
v) discovering new mechanisms of self-organization in complex networks, related to the relationship between structural connectivity and the expression of nonlinear dynamics at the local level [info: here],
vi) introducing a new approach to distributed sensing, based on wireless coupled single-transistor chaotic oscillators and their self-organization in response to a physical variable [info: here].
Affiliate Research Fellow
Collaborative research in the field of non-linear and complex dynamics in brain networks (continuation of previous affiliations).
Freelance, contract lecturer
Under these appointments, he has conceived and delivered multiple editions of a course entitled Introduction to Robotics: An Experimental Approach, based on a large number of laboratory experiments and aimed at students from diverse engineering curricula. The course topics include embedded computing and interfacing, analog and digital sensors and signal processing, robot actuators and kinematics, control systems, machine vision principles and applications, artificial intelligence.
Collaborative research in the field of neuromorphic integrated circuits and their applications.
Technical consulting and advisory in the area of biomedical image acquisition, calibration and processing, including applications of artificial intelligence techniques.
Technical consulting and technology management consulting on topics related to programmable logic (FPGA) devices and their application in radiofrequency systems (DDS-RF).
Visiting professor, Principal specialist
Under this appointment, he has been a member of the research group of Prof. Stanisław Drożdż and focused on attempting to replicate chosen aspects of neural dynamics in non-linear electronic circuits and networks. Responsibilities included ideating, participating and leading research studies in this area, and more specifically independently designing, simulating, realizing and experimentally investigating new circuits.
His accomplishments in this position include: i) understanding and modelling mechanisms of remote synchronization via interference in networks of FPAAs, ii) discovering a large number of new and atypical transistor-based oscillators showing diverse attractors and dynamics [info: here], iii) introducing new high-dimensional chaotic oscillators involving fractal L-C networks as resonators [info: here].
He has investigated the possibility of generating multi-fractal signals from elementary electronic circuits. He has also worked on the study of complex properties of music and sound signals, and of the emerging cryptocurrency market, and moreover obtained the title of Doktor Habilitowany in Physics.
Freelance consultant, technical officer
Non-disclosable contracted development and advising on behalf of a market-leading FPGA device manufacturer. This role involved operating at chief technical officer (CTO) level to provide senior leadership, supervision, and training on technical and process-related topics to engineering team members, primarily based in Yerevan (Armenia). In particular, he has directly overseen the negotiations and contract agreement with the end customer, and the process of interviewing and selecting team members. He has been responsible for the development and verification of a broad portfolio of intellectual property including basic primitives, communication and networking interfaces, video- and audio-related interfaces, memory controllers and bus infrastructure. He has also lead the design, manufacturing, production and testing of custom circuit boards to support demanding testing applications. At present, activities still continue in the form of providing long-term support and guidance to the team, and exploring possible avenues of future work mainly in the field of electrical safety.
Non-disclosable contracted development and advising on large-scale data analysis applications, particularly in biomedicine and genetics, of vector distance calculation algorithms and in particular their hardware implementations at logic, board and system levels, involving collaboration with diverse entities and the filing of a patent. These activities have also involved leading the design of a massively-parallel co-processor board based on the PCI Express bus, a high-density FPGA, and an array of FPGAs and dynamic memories. He has been in charge of identifying the components and technologies, particularly to solve difficult power, signal integrity and bandwidth challenges, and furthermore personally designed all schematics. These activities have furthermore entailed liaising closely with layout designers, manufacturing directors, and overseeing the work of a group of senior system architects, defining the FPGA-to-FPGA protocols, calculation architectures, and associated software.
He has conducted independent and self-funded applied research in two areas: i) non-invasive, remote detection of physiological excretion in sanitary towels by incontinent hospitalized patients, based on a two-dimensional time-frequency impedance measurement, implemented using a custom wearable wireless device of own design and a disposable textile element; ii) detection of anomalous events in household electric systems enabling substantially improved sensitivity to dangerous fault conditions, implemented by means of a custom-designed advanced multi-frequency measurement front-end. Two corresponding patent applications have been filed.
Guest post-doctoral fellow, freelance researcher
Under this appointment, he has been a member of the research group of Prof. Jorge Jovicich and focused initially on advanced methods for analysing time-series from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), and later on own independent research attempting to replicate chosen aspects of neural dynamics in non-linear electronic circuits and networks. Responsibilities have included ideating, participating and leading research studies, and co-supervising students.
His accomplishments in this position include: i) introducing new transistor- and FPAA-based chaotic oscillator circuits, and using them to construct networks demonstrating emergence of modularity, remote synchronization and dynamics similar to neural observations [info: here], ii) introducing a new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) implementing chaos generation via cross-coupled inverter rings having length equal to prime numbers, iii) introducing a novel way to approximate large time-series correlation matrices using L1-norm, and implementing it on a custom circuit board based on zero-instruction set computer (ZISC) architecture processors, iv) introducing a lattice network of glow-lamps which closely reproduce critical avalanching and phase transition phenomena observed for neurons in-vivo and in-vitro, v) formulating a novel measure of collective dynamics based on notions from self-similarity and matrix theory, vi) contributing to studies on the reliability and accuracy of multi-centric rs-fMRI datasets on ageing and dementia (EU PharmaCog project).
He presently retains an unpaid, external affiliation as visiting researcher/guest fellow with this institution, and collaborations continue around the study of electrophysiological data from neural cultures, optical data from insect brains, and related topics on non-linear oscillators.
For the purpose of professional development, throughout this period he conducted hardware development activities for a private start-up company. He independently designed a massively-parallel co-processor board based on the PCI express bus, including a high-density FPGA and an array of proprietary ASICs, choosing solutions to the specific challenges in data bandwidth, clock, power and thermal management, and independently defining and designing the schematics of the board. He headed completion of the project, liaising with a local partner (Tecno77 Srl; Vicenza, Italy) for board layout design and prototype manufacturing, and personally conducted all testing and characterization of prototypes. This work has also included advising on interfacing standards and periphery design for the custom ASIC.
Jun 2010-Feb 2012 | Collaborator, full-time research fellow and group leader
Feb 2012-Apr 2013 and May 2013-Jul 2015 | External collaborator, research fellow
Under these appointments, he has been a member Scientific Directorate department, led by Prof. Ferdinando Cornelio, and focused on advanced studies in applied neuroimaging and neurophysiology. Responsibilities have included ideating, participating and leading research studies. During this period, he has also completed his doctoral research and held other appointments at the Brighton & Sussex Medical School (Falmer, UK) and at the University of Trento (Trento, Italy).
His accomplishments in this position include: i) investigating non-linear dynamics in hubs of the human brain as potential early dementia biomarkers, based on clinical rs-fMRI scans from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and the EU PharmaCog project, ii) developing data analysis methods and conducting studies on the application of task-based and resting-state fMRI to the study of disorders of consciousness, epilepsy and pre-surgical planning, iii) coordinating and supervising advanced MRI studies on human participants and animal models, particularly as regards quantitative magnetization transfer imaging and 1H-MR spectroscopy of 2-hydroxyglutarate, iv) developing neural network-based algorithms for automated brain state (imagined actions) recognition, applied to a vision-guided robotic arm.
Throughout his doctoral research with Prof. Hugo Critchley, he has focused on the study of decision-making under risk. The experiments included i) exploring the univariate representation of. expected value, risk, uncertainty through fMRI, event-related potentials (ERPs), event-related spectral changes and autonomic responses, ii) generating and testing network-based models of activity, based on psychophysiological interactions and dynamic causal modelling, iii) behavioural study of patients with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, iv) conducting a neuromodulation experiment using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) at the MacKenzie University (São Paulo, Brazil).
He has also been involved in several other ERP studies and has co-authored reviews on clinical applications of functional connectivity mapping. He has sat on the science committee of the Start-up coma research centre (CRC) project funded by the Lombardy regional government, within which he has co-ordinated a specific work-package on the study of resting-state functional connectivity in patients with disorders of consciousness. Before his relocation to the Brighton & Sussex Medical School, he co-ordinated a partially-independent research group with dedicated resources and facilities, including a cognitive neuroscientist, an engineer and a biologist.
Research fellow, grade 8
Under this appointment, he has been a member of the research group of Dr. Dennis Chan, focusing on functional and structural neuroimaging of dementias and senile cognitive impairment. An area of key technical interest was the development of techniques for high-resolution mapping of resting-state functional connectivity using functional MRI.
His accomplishments in this position include: i) designing a high-performance computational platform enabling high-resolution mapping of intrinsic connectivity, including a co-processor board mounting SHARC digital signal processors, which was designed by himself and has been released as open source hardware and software, ii) developing an associated geodesic mapping platform, which involved a hardware implementation of Dijkstra’s algorithm using the VHDL language, deployed on large a Virtex-7 FPGA, iii) applying related numerical techniques in an exploratory study based on a dataset of patients with mild cognitive impairment, demonstrating the superiority of whole-brain graph theoretical mapping to the use of source-separation techniques.
He has also conducted a study mapping the cognitive architecture in an expert “human calculator”, has been involved in simultaneous PET/MRI studies of Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia, and in clinical trials of a behavioural test of allocentric spatial memory to probe Alzheimer-related degeneration. He was a named researcher on a population scanning project funded by the UK government Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Medical Research Council (MRC), and has been co-supervisor of two doctoral students, later also with the University of Cambridge.
Jun 2010 - Feb 2012 – Collaborator, full-time research fellow and group leader
Feb 2012 - Apr 2013 - External collaborator
In the context of his doctoral research with Prof. Critchley (see below), he focused on the study of decision-making under risk, investigating the representation of multiple economic parameters using simple prospects. Experiments included: i) exploring the univariate representation of. expected value, risk, uncertainty through fMRI, event-related potentials (ERPs), event-related spectral changes and autonomic responses, ii) behavioural study of patients with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease to evaluate the involvement of the basal ganglia in expected value representation, iii) exploring the relationship between prefrontal activity and risk taking via a neuromodulation experiment conducted using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) with the Universidate Presbiteriana MacKenzie (São Paulo, Brasile). He was also involved in other ERP studies with this laboratory, on social cognition and decision-making, semantic processing and autism, and action planning.
Other focus topics included i) development of algorithms and techniques to model functional connectivity using fMRI, with an experiment demonstrating that network mapping can reveal the areas and systems involved in economic value representation more accurately than univariate correlation analysis alone, and a similar experiment involving passive olfactory stimulation, and ii) development of algorithms for automated “brain state” recognition, in an experiment wherein a robotic arm driven by a machine-vision system performed specific operations determined through actions imagined by a participant undergoing fMRI.
He has sat on the science committee of the “Start-up coma research centre (CRC)” project funded by Regione Lombardia, within which he co-ordinated a specific work-package on the study of resting-state functional connectivity in patients with disorders of consciousness, particularly driving the development of dedicated data preprocessing pipelines for motion artefact reduction in resting-state fMRI. He also worked on quantitative in-vivo and ex-vivo imaging projects, co-authored a review on clinical applications of functional connectivity mapping and another on brain connectivity and autism. Throughout the first period of this appointment, before his relocation to the Brighton & Sussex Medical School and change to external collaborator, he co-ordinated a partially-independent research group with dedicated resources and facilities, including a cognitive neuroscientist, an engineer and a biologist
Full-time research fellow, grade 7
Throughout this appointment in the team of Prof. Hugo D. Critchley, he conducted and supported research projects on multimodal functional neuroimaging, combining fMRI, ERPs, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and autonomic response monitoring. Main research topics included: i) reviewing literature on the implementation of physiological monitoring devices during MRI, particularly associated signal processing and safety aspects, ii) conducting a study on emotional modulation of visual cortex responses using fNIRS, iii) investigating the physiological contamination of the fNIRS signal by systemic factors and the correspondence between the fNIRS and fMRI signals, with development of custom hardware and mechanics, iv) studying the effect of cardiac cycle and baroreceptor activity on nociceptive stimulation ERPs, v) brain imaging in high-functioning autism, particularly brain connectivity and sexual dimorphism in Aspergers’ syndrome, language and spatial processing and large-scale grey matter texture, vi) associative memory and implicit learning as a means to assess consciousness, vii) decision-making processes under time pressure, viii) somato-sensory perception and affective touch, ix) gustatory synaesthesia and association between joint hypermobility, anxiety and brain structure. In the latter part of this appointment, he commenced his doctoral research which was later completed at the Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta (see above).
Feb 2005 - Jan 2008 – Freelance consultant
Feb 2008 - Jan 2009 – Collaborator, full-time research fellow
He conducted and participated in research projects on multimodal MRI, bio-signal and image analysis with the Scientific Directorate and Neuroradiology Units.
His accomplishments in the first phase of this position include studies on: i) a tailored imaging protocol to study substantia nigra degeneration in Parkinson’s disease, ii) literature on normal brain ageing investigation using MR 1H-spectroscopy, diffusion and functional MRI and on Alzheimer’s disease, iii) diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI), increasing sensitivity to degenerative change through adoption of higher-rank tensors capable of capturing complex fibre crossing architecture (generalized DTI) and through removal of the assumption of Gaussian diffusion using bi-exponential and diffusional kurtosis models, iv) use of artificial neural networks to rapidly generate diffusional parametric maps, v) literature on the physical foundations of diffusion imaging and related mathematical methods, vi) conducting a quantitative brain 1H-spectroscopy.
His accomplishments in the second phase of this position include studies on: i) fMRI on plasticity in malformations of cortical development, ii) ERP study of dorsal and ventral visual pathway engagement in reading, iii) spatial correspondence between fMRI activations and cortical current density maps derived from low-resolution ERPs, iv) combined fMRI/ERP studies on musical syntax processing and sensory consonance, v) fMRI studies on memory lateralization, resting-state functional connectivity and myoclonus epilepsy.
Consulting activities in the field information technology and microelectronics with provision of design support, co-ordination and management of research and development projects in the areas of biomedical telemetry (Microsystems Srl), systems electronics (MS Lab Srl), machine vision (NeuriCam SpA).
In the context of these activities he worked alongside senior engineers and acquired project management skills as well as proficiency in the Assembly, C and C++ languages under Linux and UNIX, in analog and digital electronic design using the EdWin, OrCAD and TannerTools packages, and in testing and characterization of electronic device prototypes.
In particular he was involved in the development of the hardware and low-level software of an early smart camera based on the ADSP-2181 processor and a CMOS sensor, supported a variety of FPGA designs and design revisions for a CMOS image sensor design (0.35 um), co-ordinated the development of a biomedical telemetry device base on GPRS (WAD/2) and worked on a high-speed optical cheque reading and sorting system. In the same context he developed a hexapod robot (GOLEM-1) based on a dedicated tree computing architecture hinged around the TOTEM neuro-chip.
Company co-founder and board member.