Ongoing Projects

IA para el diagnóstico y tratamiento temprano de enfermedades con gran prevalencia en envejecimiento

Dates: From 2021-08-04 to 2024-12-31

Labs: Neural Interfaces and Enhancement Lab, Neuromuscular Coordination Laboratory and Human Locomotion Laboratory

El presente proyecto se enmarca en el Programa Misiones de I+D en Inteligencia Artificial 2021, en el marco de la Agenda España Digital 2025 y de la Estrategia Nacional de Inteligencia Artificial («extracto en BOE» núm. 152, de 26 de junio de 2021). El objetivo es contribuir a una de las 5 misiones identificados en la convocatoria, en concreto a la misión de la salud.
El objetivo del proyecto es la investigación y el desarrollo de un sistema inteligente descentralizado de toma y análisis de datos que permita a nuestro sistema de salud anticipar y actuar de manera temprana y ultra rápida en enfermedades psiquiátricas, neurológicas, motoras y degenerativas de gran prevalencia en el contexto del envejecimiento.

Principal Investigators: Diego Torricelli and Juan C. Moreno

Funded by Ministerio de Asuntos Económicos y Transformación Digital; Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia; Unión Europea Next Generation EU.

Referencia: MIA.2021.M02.0007


Biomarcadores neuromecánicos para cuantificar la gravedad de la enfermedad de Parkinson utilizando sensores vestibles

Dates: From 2021-09-01 to 2024-08-31

Labs: Neuromuscular Coordination Laboratory

We propose the combination of different technologies to generate the necessary body of evidence to deeply understand the motor symptoms of PD under a multi-faceted perspective. In particular, our methodology includes the application of machine learning algorithms on kinematic and neuromuscular data recorded by IMUs and surface electromyography (EMG), during a battery of tests composed of exercises replicating daily-life activities.Together with a pool of clinicians, we aim to combine these data with intuitive graphical interfaces, in order to create clinically-relevant biomarker of disease progression. Our secondary goal is to create an experimental and methodological platform for novel investigations on the complexity and adaptability of the neuromotor system, also applicable to other neurological diseases, such as stroke, spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy.

Principal Investigators: Diego Torricelli

Funded by MINISTERIO DE CIENCIA E INNOVACION. Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad

Referencia: PID2020-120491RA-I00


Natural Intelligence for Robotic Monitoring of Habitats

Dates: From 2021-01-01 to 2024-03-31

Lab: Neuromuscular Coordination Laboratory

Global warming and pollution are threatening the survival of one million over the eight million species in forests and oceans on the planet. The EU answer to these challenges is the set of deeply transformative policies contained in the European Green Deal. Among these policies a prominent role is given to the restoring and preservation of ecosystems by increasing the coverage of protected biodiversity-rich land and sea areas building on the Natura 2000 network.

Stretching over 18% of the EU’s land area and almost 6% of its marine territory, Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. The land and sea coverage will be increased up to 30% within 2030.

Today human operators are the only option to perform the environmental monitoring of such a large area. This is not only because of their specific expertise and knowledge in classifying plants and habitats but also because their physical intelligence allowing them to move for hours in wild unstructured environments such dunes, forests, and mountains.

The artificial alternative is robotics, which made tremendous advancements in recent years, however robots hardly leave laboratories and factories because they are not robust and efficient to survive in the real world. Flying robots do not have the required energy autonomy, while ground robots are not: i) intelligent to autonomously percept, interpret, and interact with highly uneven, slipping and irregular grounds, ii) physically robust to manage unexpected contacts and impacts.

The Natural Intelligence (NI) project aims to serve the European Green Deal via monitoring the natural habitats of N2000N with robots able to effectively move in dunes, grasslands, forests, and alpine terrains. NI robots will be empowered by Natural Intelligence, emerging by the interaction of environment, body and mind, leveraging on the fusion of artificial cognition and articulated soft-robotics bodies.

Principal Investigator: Diego Torricelli

Funded by H2020-EU.2.1.1 (Ref.: 101016970)


Rehabilitación basada en robótica

Dates: From 2021-04-15 to 2022-12-31

Lab: Human Locomotion Laboratory

Principal Investigator: Juan C. Moreno

Funded by Mecanismo de Recuperación y Resiliencia de la Unión Europea


Novel modular wearable robot and neuroprosthetic devices for personalized robotic-assisted walking treatments

Dates: From 2019-01-01 to 2022-06-30

Lab: Human Locomotion Laboratory

TAILOR approach will lead to a paradigm shift in the design and prescription of assistive gait-training WR and NP for neurologically impaired people, impacting on: 1) Basic and clinical research on motor control and human-in-the-loop controllers, taking advantage of isolated robotic joints in a single (WR or NP) or hybrid configuration. 2) Patient-specific neuromusculoskeletal models will improve clinical and basic research on motor disorders, functional assessment, and virtual-human-in-the-loop design and control of WR-NP technology, optimizing resources. Furthermore, clinical applications of these models are envisioned, providing a more realistic representation of what-if clinical questions (i.e., effects of botulin toxin, or prescription of assistive devices for walking compensation). 3) User needs and expectations will provide new insights on what is actually wished by the user regarding WR-NP technology, matching expectancies and technology performance. This information will impact on the development of future WR-NP technology, as well as on the services provided with it: rehabilitation treatments, devices for personal use, etc.

Quality of life of people with walking impairments will be improved. Delivering affordable and personalized WR, NP and HR technologies will impact on user acceptance, enabling ambulation and providing therefore functional, social (inclusion, participation) and clinical (bladder and bowel, cardiorespiratory) benefits. Furthermore, people that are not suitable for current WR technology, but that have walking impairments that need the use of a wheelchair, will benefit from the TAILOR modular devices, enabling rehabilitation and functional compensation of walking with WR, NP and HR technology. In general, TAILOR will spread the use of this technology, boosting the industry of advanced technologies for walking assistance with significant healthcare savings both at individual and societal levels.

Principal Investigator: Juan C. Moreno

Funded by Ministerio de Ciencia, Investigación y Universidades con Ref. RTI2018-097290-B-C32


Bidirectional Hyper-Connected Neural System

Dates: From 2018-01-01 to 2022-06-30

Lab: Neural Interfaces and Enhancement Lab, Human Locomotion Laboratory, Neuromuscular 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.

Principal Investigator: Filipe Barroso

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


EUropean ROBotic framework for bipedal locomotion bENCHmarking

Dates: From 2018-01-01 to 2022-06-30

Lab: Human Locomotion Laboratory, Neuromuscular 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.

Principal Investigator: Diego Torricelli

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


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 2022-01-31

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: Juan C. Moreno

Funded by: Fundación La Marató de TV3

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