Michele Rucci, PhD


Picture of Michele Rucci

Research Interests

Research in my laboratory focuses on active perception in biological and artificial systems. Like many species, humans are not passively exposed to the incoming flow of sensory data, but actively seek useful information. Behavior is a key component of sensory perception; it enables control of input sensory signals in ways that simplify perceptual tasks. The term active perception refers to the analysis of the perceptual functions of behavior.

In the Active Perception Laboratory, experimental and theoretical approaches are combined to examine motor influences on perceptual performance and on the encoding of sensory information in the brain. Robots replicating the sensory-motor strategies of various species are studied in an effort to develop efficient machine perception systems. Research in the Active Perception Laboratory has raised specific hypotheses regarding the influences of eye movements during visual development and in the neural encoding of visual information. This research has also demonstrated the involvement of fixational eye movements in fine spatial vision, produced a new system for experimental studies of visual neuroscience, and led to the development of robots directly controlled by models of the brain.

Selected Publications

  • M. Rucci, R. Iovin, M. Poletti, and F. Santini, ”Miniature Eye Movements Enhance Fine Spatial Detail”, Nature, 447(7146) , 851-854, 2007.
  • M. Rucci, D. Bullock, and F. Santini, “Integrating robotics and neuroscience: brains for robots, bodies for brains”, Advanced Robotics, 21(10) , 1115-1129, 2007.
  • A. Casile and M. Rucci, “A theoretical analysis of the influence of fixational instability on the development of thalamocortical connectivity”, Neural Computation, 18(3), 569-590, 2006.
  • M. Rucci, G.M. Edelman and J. Wray, “Modeling LGN responses during free-viewing:  A possible role of microscopic eye movements in the refinement of cortical orientation selectivity”, Journal of Neuroscience, 20, 12, 4708-4720, 2000.
  • M. Rucci, G.M. Edelman and J. Wray, “Adaptation of orienting behavior: from the barn owl to a robotic system”, IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, 15, 1, 96-110, 1999.


Email: mrucci AT bu.edu
Office Phone: (617) 353-7671
Fax: (617) 353-7755
Webpage: Active Perception Laboratory