Body machine interfaces for neuromotor rehabilitation and healthy aging

Elderly people with age related problems, as well as persons with neuromotor disabilities such as stroke, spinal cord injury or Multiple sclerosis face two challenges: (i) maintaining functional independence in everyday life, and (ii) exercising to counteract the changes in their sensory-motor abilities.
The Italian and US Research Units (RUs) are already collaborating in projects aiming at developing Body Machine Interfaces with the goal of promoting a gradual and continuous reorganization of body movements. This goal is achieved by continuously adapting the interface, and therefore the exercise modalities, to the subject’s state and physiological/psychological changes such as aging, recovery or progress of diseases.

In this new project we will join the knowledge developed in previous and ongoing projects in both RUs. We will translate them into a simple low-cost innovative personal guidance system (PGS), suitable also for home-based use, that will provide highly specialized training aiming at counteracting disabling effects of age and diseases.
We will target ecological tasks in common activities of daily living, using on a comprehensive integrated approach, which includes quantitative assessment and training of posture, functional movements, forces and their use in hybrid tasks

To reach this ambitious goal, in this first year we will focus on (i) merging the technological (hardware and software) solutions found by both RUs and integrating them into simple low cost devices and objects for home-based use; (ii) defining and testing protocols targeting specifically disease or age related problems; (iii) pilot testing the PGS system established by the two previous points.
This approach is well grounded in the expertise of the two RUs and presents an original component related to technological development as well as a highly innovative approach to home base assessment of human abilities and treatment of their change with age and diseases.

Funding: progetto di grande rilevanza Italia-USMinistero Italiano degli affari esteri, Joint Declaration on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Italy and the United States of America.

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