I am Cosimo Della Santina (Della Santina is the surname!). I am Assistant Professor at CoR department, TU Delft. I am also a researcher at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Lecturer at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), both in Munich, Germany.

To discuss about opportunities, collaborations, research (yours, mine, or someone else's) the easiest is to send an email (see below).


My current main interest is in building the body (model based design, sensors, actuators) and the brain (control, perception, learning, planning) of Soft Robots of both articulated and continuum kinds.

In case you wonder what a Soft Robot actually is, we attempted to provide a general definition in THIS paper.

You can find HERE my (reasonably up-to-date) CV with publications.

I am also interested in
Geometrical Deep Learning for Mechanical Systems,Theory of Nonlinear Oscillations,Robotic Hands, and Prostheses,Manipulation of Soft/Flexible Objects,Modelling of Human Motor Control,Control of Rigid Robots,Control of Pandemics (started with THIS CoVid - 19 control paper).

Some recent publications:
... coming soon ...
Recent and upcoming talks and other activities:
... coming soon ...

Theses, internships, and
other visiting opportunities

I am always open to discuss about supervising students and hosting visiting researchers (e.g. PhD students, internships).

You can send me an email (see homepage) and we can discuss about possible opportunities.


We have multiple Internships and theses available at TU Delft. If you are excited about our research activities (see research page), you can reach us to us through email. See rules at the end of this page.

Open internships @TU Delft include but are not limited to:
Implementing a simulator for Continuum Soft Robots, also including high-fidelity rendering solution such as Unity,Design of an (articulated) soft gripper for a soft robot (this may work also as a thesis).
Open theses @TU Delft include but are not limited to :
Learning interactions in a few minutes: Multi-modal and Residual Deep (Reinforcement) Learning for Grasping, Manipulation, and Assembling (daily supervisor: Padmaja Kulkarni), see here for more details,Learning forward jumping strategies with an articulated soft quadruped with a priory knowledge of models (co-supervisor: Jens Kober),Iterative Learning Control in Functional Space with possible application in robotic locomotion/control continuum soft robot/... (theory, simulation, and experiments),(Deep) Learning Geometrically Consistent Averaging Operations for Mechanical Systems (a lot of theory, possible experimental validation),Evolutionary Algorithms and/or Hebbian Learning of Stable Networks of Mechanical Oscillators (Theory and simulations).
See also HERE for some some available topics. Note that this document is not super-updated. See the group page for some examples of ongoing and past theses/internships.

Some opportunities may also be available at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on nonlinear oscillations, robot locomotion, full body manipulation, and soft robotics.

Rules of Engagement

When you contact me, please
Include as attachment the list of your exams with grades, and your CVlet me know if you are a theoretical-minded person or if you are good with your hands,provide examples of previous projects proving your skills in one direction or the other,use some informative subject something like "Application for MSc Thesis @ TU Delft", or "Application for Internship @ DLR", or ...extra general informations on your background and your interests are also welcomed.


I was born in Pontedera, Italy, the 6th of October 1989.
I hold a Bachelor in Computer Engineering and a Master in Robotics and Control Theory from the University of Pisa.
I was PhD student at the University of Pisa and IIT (Advisors: Prof. Antonio Bicchi, Prof. Lucia Pallotino), visiting researcher and post doc at MIT-CSAIL (Advisor: Daniela Rus), and senior post doc at TUM (Advisor: Alin Albu-Schaeffer).
I am now Assistant Professor at CoR department, TU Delft. I am also a researcher at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Lecturer at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), both in Munich, Germany.


2020 EuRobotics Georges Giralt PhD Award for my PhD thesis work.2020 Best Reviewer Award at ICRA2020.2019 IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters Honorable Mention, with the paper Della Santina and Rus "Control Oriented Modeling of Soft Robots: The Polynomial Curvature Case"Finalist of 2019 European PhD Award on Control for Complex and Heterogeneous Systems for my PhD thesis work.2019 IEEE RAS Italian Chapter "Fabrizio Flacco" Young Author Best Paper Award with the paper Della Santina, et al. “Toward Dexterous Manipulation With Augmented Adaptive Synergies: The Pisa/IIT SoftHand 2” Transactions on Robotics.2017 Best Robotics Paper, Best Student Paper at ICMUT17, Both awarded to the paper Averta, Della Santina et al. "From Humans to Robots: the Role of Cutaneous Impairment in Human Environmental Constraint Exploitation to Inform the Design of Robotic Hands"2016 Robotic Grasping and manipulation Competition IROS2016, Hand-by-hand track.2015 Best Interactive Paper at Humanoids15, awarded to my first paper, Della Santina et al. "Dexterity augmentation on a synergistic hand: the Pisa/IIT SoftHand+".

Editorial Work

2020-ongoing Associate Editor IEEE RA-L2020-ongoing Associate Editor IEEE ICRA2021-ongoing Associate Editor IEEE/RSJ IROS2021-ongoing Associate Editor Frontiers in Soft Robotics2018-2020 Guest editor IJRR Sage, for a special issue on Control of Soft Robots2019-2021 Review Editor Frontiers in Soft Robotics...


PhD students and PostDocs

Maximilian Stölzle (PhD student @TU Delft), working on combining machine learning and model based strategies for controlling soft robots.Padmaja Kulkarni (PhD student @TU Delft), working on manipulation of soft objects using Reinforcement Learning. Co-supervised with Jens Kober, and Robert Babuška.Davide Calzolari (PhD student @TUM/DLR, mentoring), working on nonlinear control of complex mechanical systems, strict modes, and nonlinear modes. Main supervisor: Alin Albu-Schaeffer.Mathew Jose Pollayil (visiting PhD student @DLR)

Open Positions (PhD, PostDoc, ...)

Postdoc in Controlling Soft Robots with RL and MPC
Intrigued by the boundary between model based techniques and machine learning, in the context of Soft Robotics?

I am very excited to announce this open Post Doc position at the faculty TU Delft | Mechanical Engineering, on combining MPC with RL for controlling soft robots.

The project is going to be at the intersection of (Nonlinear) Model Predictive Control, Reinforcement Learning. So, research experience in one of the two and at least a basic understanding of the other is mandatory.

Experience in robot control, multi-body dynamics, real robot applications, soft robotics, advanced optimization is a plus.

More informations can be found here.

Master Students and Interns

Current Interns: currently I have no interns

Current MSc students (at and from TU Delft if not differently specified):

Grace Lee, Msc, "Teleopration of the SoftHand 2."Lars Besselaar, Msc, "Manipulation of Soft Objects."Francesco Stella, Msc, "Stiffness control in Soft Robotics."Ario Maleeq, Msc, "Haptics in Quadruped Locomotion." Co-Supervised with: Dr. Michaël Wiertlewski.Emanuele Rosi (from UniGenova), MSc, "Soft Robotic Proprioception through Vision and Models.''Sjoerd Drost, MSc, "Handling eggs with a flexible arm." Co-Supervised with: Dr. Gerwin SmitWillem Heeringa, MSc, "Sensorized grippers optimized for fast pick and place." Co-Supervised with: Dr. Gerwin SmitMarkus Wagner (from TU Munich), MSc@DLR, "Dynamic Locomotion of the Quadruped Bert using DCM Framework." Co-Supervised with: Dr. Johannes Englsberger, George Mesesan, Prof. Alin Albu-Scheffer.

Past students:
Luigi Bono Bonacchi (from Politecnico di Milano), MSc@DLR, "Repetitive control for efficient pick and place motions." Co-Supervised with: Dr. Maximo Roa.Yannik Wotte (from UTwente), Internship@DLR, "Numerical Evaluation of Nonlinear Modes in Multi-Body Systems." Co-Supervised with: Arne Sachtler.... Coming Soon ...