• Rehab Lab © 2016 IIT 5353

The Rehab Technologies - INAIL - IIT Lab aims to create a new initiative to bring innovative, competitive and technologically advanced devices, into an international market starting from 2017.

The current developing solutions consist in a multifunctional prosthetic hand (INAIL-IIT PPR1 Project), a prototype motorized exoskeleton for ambulation for paraplegics (INAIL-IIT POR1 Project)  and a robot for lower limbs and lumbar spine rehabilitation  and core stability training.

These projects allows INAIL and IIT to strengthen their cooperation and their commitment to disability issues. The goal is to make available advanced devices at competitive costs, more sustainable for both national health systems and patients.

Devices

Hand and Wrist Prostheses

The multifunctional, anthropomorphic and artificial porsthetic hand, resulting from robotic technology of Pisa / IIT SoftHand, is composed of hand and wrist.

The upper limb prostheses are the main challenge for the prosthetics field because of the high complexity of the hand which performs not repetitive and extremely varied functions with different precision and strength degrees.

Current devices aim at obtain the highest functional recovery giving the patients a huge variety of grips. However, they are far from the human hand as it manages to adapt itself to both precise and powerful tasks thanks to its great number of degrees of freedom and sensory receptors. It also has a central role in everyday life, both in social and functional fields.

The Rehab Technologies prosthetics hand will be designed to be easily used, strong, easy and cheap but with the capacity to reach a high level of grasp like a human hand.

An additional research line will be dedicated to the development of advanced sEMG (Electromyography) devices and techniques to better control prostheses.

In these areas IIT and the INAIL Prosthetics Centre occupy a prominent role, also at an international level.

Advanced sEMG (Surface Electromyography) devices

An additional research line will be dedicated to the development of advanced sEMG (Electromyography) devices. These devices will be developed and used both to better control upper limb prostheses and to measure muscle activation during rehabilitation exercises.

In these areas IIT and the INAIL Prosthetics Centre occupy a prominent role, also at an international level.

Exoskeleton

The exoskeleton is an external structure to increase the physical capabilities of the wearer with important applications in medical and rehabilitative therapy.

In recent years robotic technologies are increasingly used for the development of lower limb exoskeletons which are designed to facilitate the ambulation of persons with spinal cord injury, even if currently available exoskeletons still do not respond to the actual needs of this population.

The goal of the IIT and INAIL project is to produce an exoskeleton to overcome these limitations, especially in terms of ease of use, wearability, easiness of control and physical stress.

Rehabilitation Platform

Current orthopaedic and neurological rehabilitation protocols, are often conducted through a series of simple tools and devices which have the following limitations:

a significant organizational and physical effort of the physiotherapist is required; repeatability of the exercises and patient stimulation through bio-feedback are not guaranteed; motor control stimulation is not allowed; measures of patient performances, to observe the effective outcome of the rehabilitation process and give appropriate feedback to the patient about the recovery of the damaged functionality are not allowed .

For this reason  IIT and INAIL are developing a new generation of devices, useful to the whole body rehabilitation , integrated into a new platform.

Arbot, the ankle rehabilitation device, is the first developed device and it is currently used  in clinical trials at the INAIL Motor Rehabilitation Center of Volterra.

Facilities

Rehab Technologies is a facility specialized in creating prosthetics, orthotics and rehabilitation devices. It is sited in the centre of the IIT Central Lab in Genoa and it is based on the competence and the knowledge of one of the biggest lab in Europe.

The design, development and test of the devices are made by a team of fifteen engineers and technicians with mechanical, electronic and programming skills.

The Rehab Technologies facility covers a 250 m2  area. It includes a production workshop to realize, assemble and test the devices in each development phase till the pre-industrialization stage.

Technology Transfer

IIT has a recognized leadership in the developments of Humanoids Robotic technologies: iCubComan and the SoftHand are among the most significant examples.

These technologies are particularly suited to be transferred in applications and devices for the medical field: in recent years many robotic devices, such as exoskeletons and rehabilitation platforms, were developed inside IIT labs integrating different know-how in robotics, biomechanics, physiotherapy and neuroscience.

IIT is focusing within the Rehab Technologies Facility, in agreement with INAIL, all the development activities to transfer humanoid technologies into devices for the market.

The research team is developing three device lines aimed to be commercialized into the market in the next three years:

The product commercialization will be given to an IIT start-up which will inherit the IIT-INAIL research activity done from 2013.

The goal is to develop “Made in Italy” technologies and devices, to be produced and marketed at competitive costs, sustainable both for the National Health System and patients. The start-up will target both Italian and International market.

The first result is the polyarticulated and polyfunctional hand realized by IIT and INAIL. The hand is still in a pre-clinical testing phase with patients.

The hand should be available for the market, after completing the clinical trials and the industrialization  phase, starting from 2017.