Activity 1 – Needs of target individuals, technology-needs match making


Activity 1 aims at identifying the needs of target users and healthcare practitioners in order to address them with the most appropriate biorobotic platforms and allied digital technologies made available by Mission 2.

The current generation does not fully meet the expectations and needs of target individuals (either patients or individuals at risk) and healthcare practitioners (rehabilitation practitioners as physicians, therapists, occupational therapists, prosthetists, nurses, etc.), preventing their penetration in those settings where it could make a change (clinical practice, social/work support activities).

The identification and analysis of these needs, together with the analysis of current available technologies and the implementation of strategies to fulfill them is thus crucial to allow the full deployment of the approach.


Activity 2 – Clinical protocols and trials


Activity 2 aims to design and implement innovative trials, in order to assess the clinical efficacy and the economic sustainability of the identified robotic solutions (exploiting new organizational models identified through HTA approaches (A3). Despite the increasing use and the vast amount of literature on the subject, there is still lack of pragmatic clinical trials, that conjugate the principles of the Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) with the needs of evaluating the efficacy and sustainability of robotic treatments or devices. Therefore, conclusive scientific evidence on the implementation of healthcare and personal care robots is still lacking. Perhaps this has to do with the slow pace associated with the deployment of new technologies, with the traditional mission of researchers in academia (i.e., contributing to new knowledge), and with the difficulty of funding large inter-disciplinary projects with a potentially disruptive impact. Notwithstanding the reasons, such combination of factors has implied that most of the studies conducted so far were done in lab environments on small and highly selective groups of individuals and did not extend beyond the level of early feasibility studies, or proof of concepts. Results on the use of healthcare and personal care robots in the real world and with a significant population appear inconclusive, and do not allow to identify the characteristics of target individuals who are most likely to benefit from certain classes of robots. In turn, their cost-effectiveness has not been thoroughly examined yet and how to ensure a continuum of care neither (Fernandez-Garcia 2021). Sadly, this scarcity of studies applies to both groups targeted with this proposal (1), and this lack of data has hampered the possibility of specific legislation governing and driving the use of robotics in the rehabilitation or assistive fields.

Carmelo Chisari
/ Università di Pisa
Franco Molteni
/ Congregazione Suore Infermiere dell’Addolorata - VALDUCE
Emanuele Gruppioni
Giuseppina Sgandurra
/ IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris