Technological Research

RESEARCH LINE:

DEVELOPMENT OF DEVICES, SENSORS AND ACTUATORS

Development of Innovative Devices for SEMG Acquisition

EXISTING KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY GAP

Portable, research-grade sEMG acquisition systems are available from several manufacturers. These come with up to 16 channels. However they are designed to either talk to a custom receiver or a PC. Processing and evaluating the data with a mobile phone is not possible with these devices. Many of them are also bulky and with prohibitively high price

AIMS

To develop innovative devices for the conditioning and acquisition of sEMG signals to be transferred to clinical settings. On the basis of the knowledge gained in the past 10 years of activity about sEMG acquisition and interpretation issues, this research line will focus on a) the development of new devices optimized in term of usability (number of channels, size, weight, simple do on and do off) in order to facilitate their use in clinical settings. b) the design of wearable multi-channel sEMG systems.

Seed project: Development of textile detection systems for sEMG

EXISTING KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY GAP

The reading of the sEMG signals requires a reliable electrode-skin contact. In the case of textile electrodes, this contact can be provided either by a narrow shape of the garment and the elasticity of the textile material but this contact is not always reliable unless the garment fits very tightly.

AIMS

To develop sEMG detection systems integrated into textile easily to worn, assuring a repeatable positioning and a reliable electrode-skin contact.The initial focus will be on bipolar detection systems. In a second step, design solutions will be investigated in order to manage a high number of electrodes (>=32) and their interconnections.

Seed Project: Development of SMA-based wearable actuators driven by SEMG

EXISTING KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY GAP

New types of actuators are currently studied such as shape memory alloys (SMA), electro-rheological fluids, magneto-active transducers, single crystal piezoelectric ceramics, carbon nanotubes, electrostatic, and electroactive polymers (EAPs). Because of this characteristic, they are often referred to as “artificial muscles”. SMAs have been proposed as artificial muscles because of their relative non-toxicity, reasonable cost, very large forces per unit area, high strain rates and relatively large deformations.

AIMS

To investigate the feasibility of the use of Shape memory alloy (SMA) as wearable actuators for the development of sEMG controlled orthoses.

RESEARCH LINE:

FUNCTIONAL ELECTRICAL STIMULATION

Development of Wearable system for Functional Electrical Stimulation

EXISTING KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY GAP

Currently available systems for functional electrical stimulation allow for the selection of an assortment of stimulation settings. Waveform of stimulation pulses and frequency are some of the key stimulation parameters that may be set. The crucial drawback of existing systems for functional electrical stimulation is the determination of stimulation instants; stimulation is typically triggered by external events subjected to voluntary control. Of chief interest is the possibility of patterning stimulation instants and intensities according to kinematic data

AIMS

To develop an innovative, wearable system for the functional electrical stimulation of skeletal muscles. This system is expected to pattern muscle stimulation according either to stimulation profiles set externally (e.g. by the user) or to kinematic and/or kinetic data recorded from the subject and fed directly to the stimulator.

RESEARCH LINE:

EMG BIOFEEDBACK, REHABILITATION GAMES, AUGMENTED REALITY

Development of 

Smart system for neuro-muscular reheducation

EXISTING KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY GAP

Current techniques aimed at the neuromuscular re-education are both too general and rely on the use of desktop systems, hindering their application outside laboratory settings. Here we combine advances made in within the research Line A to provide clinicians and the general user with the possibility of learning to activate their muscle as optimally as possible. The key strategy here is the development of smart applications tailored to the subjects’ need.

AIMS

To create smart applications for the general neuromuscular re-education. Based on the possibility of providing subjects with real-time information on the degree and timing of their muscle activity, these applications will be integrated into protocols for rehabilitation and training. Sensors developed within the research Line A will be used here. LISiN has indeed already established collaboration with clinical and sports centres in Italy interested in using the EMG biofeedback technique to assist mentally disabled and aged individuals in better controlling their muscles.