The research line aims at the development and the application of methodologies and instruments for the evaluation of the main human physiological systems. Applications are relevant to clinics, rehabilitation, home-care, ageing, ergonomics and extreme environments (e.g., micro-gravitational).
It is articulated in the following areas:
Motor rehabilitation, movement analysis and dynamic musculoskeletal models for functional evaluation and clinical applications.
The activity is aimed at improving knowledge in patients with motor disorders (Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, eating disorders, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, brain injury, amputees…) using quantitative movement analysis, and in particular it is focused on the development and implementation of experimental set-up, of methods for data elaboration and representation for clinical use.
The applications include design of prostheses for amputees, definition of criteria for endoprostheses implantation and ergonomic studies on assistive devices. Research includes also the analysis of sporting gesture, to identify limitations in the athletic preparation and reduce the risk of sports injuries.
Bioengineering of Respiratory system: functional evaluation, sensors and measurement.
Development of methods for optoelectronic analysis of thoraco-abdominal kinematics and volumes during respiration (OEP); development of Double Body Plethysmography for measuring blood shifts from and to the trunk; modeling of respiratory mechanics; deeper understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of the respiratory system in different conditions; development of software and hardware systems; development of new devices for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR); Functional Imaging of the respiratory system, by CT and MRI; evaluation of diaphragm function by ultrasounds; alveolar mechanics by in-vivo microscopy.
Research is carried out on three directions: 1. The design of neuroprostheses and neurorobotic treatments for motor re-learning, training of disabled people and elderly and for deployment of assistive devices and dedicated human machine interfaces. 2. The modelling of motor learning process by experiments of adaptation to microgravity and robotic embedding of cerebro-cerebellar computational models. 3. The study of neural correlates of brain plasticity, by fMRI, for understanding the process of neuromotor recovery after rehabilitation.