Ongoing Projects

 

EXTEND

Bidirectional Hyper-Connected Neural System

Dates: From 2018-01-01 to 2021-12-31

Lab: Human Locomotion LaboratoryNeuromuscular Coordination Laboratory

Current brain and neural interfacing technologies still face significant limitations to become accessibility tools that can benefit people. On the one hand, non-invasive neural interface technology (e.g. EEG, EMG) is intrinsically unidirectional and of limited capacity. On the other hand, invasive technology (e.g. percutaneous EMG, implanted nerve electrodes or intracranial electroencephalography) while allowing two-directionality and better performance still relies on complex surgical procedures.

EXTEND aims at developing the novel concept of Bidirectional Hyper-Connected Neural Systems (BHNS) to extend the capabilities of neural interfaces with minimally invasive communication links between multiple nerves in the body and multiple external devices. EXTEND will realise BHNS by developing disruptive wireless neuromuscular (injectable) interface technology that enables distributed stimulation, sensing, processing and analysis of neuromuscular activity, the ultimate stance of the neural code of movement.

The EXTEND project will showcase the advantages of this new technology in two applications: (1) tremor management in essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson disease (PD), and (2) neural interfaced assistive wearable robots for spinal cord injury (SCI). EXTEND will also work towards a community hub that brings together stakeholders to create an innovation ecosystem that can nurture the fast development of neural interfaces around the new concept.

Funded by H2020 Topic ICT 23-2017:  Interfaces for accessibility. Reference: 779982

 

 

EUROBENCH

EUropean ROBotic framework for bipedal locomotion bENCHmarking

Dates: From 2018-01-01 to 2021-12-31

Lab: Human Locomotion LaboratoryNeuromuscular Coordination Laboratory

The EUROBENCH project aims at creating the first benchmarking framework for robotic systems in Europe. The framework will allow companies and researchers to test the performance of robots at any stage of development. The project will primarily focus on bipedal machines, i.e. exoskeletons, prosthetics and humanoids, but will be designed to be easily extended to other robotic domains. The EUROBENCH framework will be composed of:

– A methodological component, which will include methods and metrics to calculate the System Ability Levels of a robotic system. These methods will be integrated in a professional software tool to permit its wide use across domains and laboratory conditions. The main goal of this unified software is to facilitate the use of benchmarking methodology at all levels from research to pre-commercial prototyping.

– An experimental component, which will concentrate the state-of-the-art test benches in two facilities, one for wearable robots (including exoskeletons and prostheses), and one for humanoid robots. These facilities will allow companies and researchers to perform standardized tests on advanced robotic prototypes in a unique location, saving resources and time, and preparing for certification processes.

Funded by H2020 Topic ICT 27-2017: System abilities, SME & benchmarking actions, safety certification. Reference: 779963

 

 

 

REGAIN

Regain of arm and hand movements in cervical spinal cord injury patients by means of spinal electrical neuromodulation assisted with an arm exoskeleton.

Dates: From 2018-10-23 to 2021-09-30

Lab: Human Locomotion Laboratory

We will develop a bottom to top approach employing animal models and human testing to determine whether or not non-invasive neuro-modulation of the cervical spinal cord concomitant with upper limb rehabilitation driven by exo-skeletons can facilitate the regain of the arm and hand functional movements in spinal cord injured patients.

We hypothesize that that spinal electrical neuro-modulation together with sensory-motor rehabilitation will facilitate the transmission and processing of the motor commands along the residual brain-to-spinal connectome leading to the regain of arm and hand movements.

The proposal follows a multi-disciplinary and translational approach; including basic scientists, engineers and clinicians, and is divided in 3 independent but related working packages (WP). WP1: Develop of a selfcontained hybrid robotic system to drive arm and hand movements rehabilitation in spinal cord injured patients. WP2: Implement the exo-skeleton to rehabilitate arm and hand movements concomitant to cervical electrical neuro-modulation in cervical spinal cord inured patients. WP3: In an animal model, using the optimal spinal stimulation parameters, identify the cellular and molecular changes in the brain-to-spinal connectome, which mediates recovery.

The results will support the development of the first feasible treatment to improve manual dexterity in cervical spinal cord inured patients, and will present a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the mechanisms underlying the recovery, providing an indispensable guideline for the application of stimulation-based therapy to SCI patients.

KEYWORDS: Spinal cord injury / plasticity / neuro-modulation / hand function / neurorehabilitation/ exo-skeleton /spinal networks

Principal Investigator: José L. Pons

Funded by Fundació La Marató de TV3

 

 

INBOTS

Inclusive Robotics for a better society

Dates: From 2018-01-01 to 2020-12-31

Lab: Human Locomotion LaboratoryNeuromuscular Coordination Laboratory

The main challenge that INBOTS wants to overcomes is the lack of a clear understanding and communication between all the involved stakeholders. These limitations hinder current efforts to successfully discuss and agree on the many important technical and non-technical aspects in the field. Therefore, with the purpose of optimizing the outcomes of the coordinate and support action, INBOTS will focus mainly on Interactive Robots, which we define as any robot that is interacting in close proximity with humans.

In this context, the overall objective of this project is to create a community hub that can bring together experts to debate and create a responsible research and innovation paradigm for robotics. To this end, INBOTS provides a platform to establish a working synergy between four pillars that covers all stakeholders in Interactive Robotics: the technical expertise pillar, the business expertise pillar, the ethical, legal and socioeconomic expertise pillar, as well as the end-users, policy makers and general public pillar. Therefore, the project strives at coordinating and supporting actions aimed at building bridges among these pillars to promote debate and create a responsible research and innovation paradigm that will potentiate EU leadership on robotics.

Funded by H2020 Topic ICT 28-2017:  Robotics Competitions, coordination and support. Reference: 780073

 

 Associate-02 Associate

A comprehensive and wearable robotics based approach to the rehabilitation and assistance to people with stroke and spinal cord injury

Dates: From 2015-01-01 to 2019-12-31

Lab: Neuromodulation and Assessment Lab

The first objective of the project is to validate the effectiveness of a novel intervention to promote motor control re-learning in neurological patients by means of an associated use of motor planning at brain level, sensory stimulation at cortical level and afferent feedback provided with a wearable lower extremity exoskeleton.

The second objective of the project is to validate the effectiveness of a novel lower extremity wearable exoskeleton with embodied intelligence and enhanced self-learning characteristics in the assistance to locomotion in complete and incomplete SCI in terms of reduced learning periods, improved adaptation and more versatile and dextrous operation.

Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under Agreement: DPI2014-58431-C4-1-R

 

 

 

RECODE

Motor rehabilitation of spinal cord injury by combined application of robotic exoskeleton, spinal cord stimulation and cortical modulation

Dates: From 2018-11-01 to 2020-10-31

Lab: Human Locomotion Laboratory

The project will validate technically, functionally and clinically the concept of hybrid neuroprosthetic-robotic intervention in combination with non-invasive brain stimulation for the rehabilitation of gait in patients with spinal cord injuries. In RECODE:

– Techniques of selective stimulation of functionally relevant areas and spinal networks directly involved in spinal excitability associated with muscle induced recruitment will be studied.

– Through the characterization of brain and spinal responses in the motor neuron firing properties and the effect of these changes on the excitability of the cortico-spinal tract, there will be a synergistic treatment of three therapeutic interventions for neuromotor recovery of gait function.

– The proposed intervention, using a model based on the neuromuscular and mechanical response, will determine whether the controlled combination of spinal and cerebral stimulation in synergy with a robotic exoskeleton is beneficial for the motor recovery of the lower extremities.

The project research team brings together complementary research groups in neuroengineering and medicine, which have achieved significant scientific and technological advances in recent years in the areas involved in the RECODE concept: pathophysiology of spinal cord injury; neuroprosthetics and robotic therapeutic exoskeletons; non-invasive spinal electrostimulation and transcranial neuromodulation.

KEYWORDS: Spinal cord injury, spinal neuroprostheses, brain stimulation, robotic exoskeletons, neurorehabilitation.

Principal Investigator: Juan C. Moreno.

Funded by Ministerio de Ciencia, Programa Explora Ciencia y Tecnologí­a 2017, Ref. Entidad Financiadora: DPI2017-91117-EXP. Código Proyecto: 184576

 

 

 

SMARTWEARABLE

SMART WEARABLE ROBOT SYSTEM FOR LOWER-LIMB NEURAL REHABILITATION (SmartWearable). Experiment from the “Digital Innovation Hubs boosting European Microelectronics Industry – DIATOMIC

Dates: From 2018-10-01 to 2019-11-30

Lab: Human Locomotion Laboratory

The main goal of the experiment is to develop a smart reduced exoskeleton to improve the accuracy, robustness and safety in the rehabilitation process for small joints of lower limbs. The solution will be based on a new structure of exoskeleton based on rigid actuators adapted to the joints (knee and ankle), an electronic control and monitoring system, and an user interface in the form of a video game, directly communicated with the movements of the user to incorporate rehabilitation exercises and to regulate automatically exoskeleton behaviour in order to obtain personalized therapies. Specific objectives are:

– To integrate advanced micro-electronic technologies in order to develop a miniaturised exoskeleton.

– To integrate SS in order to get an intelligent exoskeleton achieve a rehabilitation process for small joints of lower limbs totally adapted to the injury and evolution of the patient.

– To use rigid actuators to improve the accuracy and the safety in the rehabilitation of small joints. Using this kind of actuators, it will be able to generate a torque force of 15Nm and a maximum speed of 2 rpm in the ankle joints

– To implement and adapt intelligent control software and a intuitive and user-friendly modern user interface

Principal Investigator: Juan C. Moreno.

Funded by H2020-ICT-2016-2-192188

 

 

 

REASISTE

Red Iberoamericana de Rehabilitación y Asistencia de Pacientes con Daño Neurológico mediante Exoesqueletos Robóticos de Bajo Coste

Dates: From 2016-01-01 to 2019-12-31

Lab: Human Locomotion LaboratoryNeuromuscular Coordination Laboratory

Los pacientes con daño neurológico son un colectivo muy desfavorecido en Iberoamérica al que no se ha dedicado hasta la fecha un esfuerzo coordinado transnacional y multidisciplinar de centros clí­nicos, centros de investigación, universidades y empresas. El daño neurológico es una de las principales causas de discapacidad, siendo el número de personas con discapacidad en Iberoamérica superior a los 72 millones (afectando aproximadamente al 11% de la población total de Iberoamérica). El objetivo general de esta red temática es establecer un amplio foro de trabajo para posibilitar y facilitar la cooperación y el intercambio de conocimiento entre actores implicados de Iberoamérica que trabajan en el campo de la rehabilitación y asistencia de pacientes con daño neurológico. La red se articula en torno al desarrollo de uno o varios exoesqueletos robóticos (ERs) para mejorar la rehabilitación y asistencia de pacientes con daño neurológico. De este modo, una vez finalizada la red, se dispondrá de varios ERs que podrán ser utilizados por centros clínicos en terapias de rehabilitación y de asistencia a pacientes con daño neurológico. Si bien las personas que se beneficiarán en primer lugar de los desarrollos de esta red son el colectivo de pacientes con daño neurológico, los ERs de la red podrán ser empleados para mejorar la salud de pacientes con otras patologías, como por ejemplo, pacientes con poliomelitis o botulismo.

Funded by Programa Iberoamericano de Ciencia y Tecnologí­a para el Desarrollo (CYTED). Reference: 216RT0504

 

 logo ASTONISH

Advancing Smart Optical Imaging and Sensing for Health

Dates: From 2016-06-01 to 2019-05-31

Lab: Neuromodulation and Assessment Lab

ASTONISH will deliver breakthrough imaging and sensing technologies for monitoring, diagnosis and treatment applications. Miniaturized optical components, data processing units and SW applications will be integrated into smart imaging systems that lower cost of care and increase Quality of Life. The ASTONISH project contributes with tangible results to the ECSEL Smart Health and Smart Systems Integration key applications and technologies.

Funded by the European Commission under Grant Agreement: H2020-EU.2.1.1.7. – ECSEL – 692470

 

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