Activity 6 aims ambitiously to bring "personal robots" into experimentation that could have a significant impact on the health of the most vulnerable part of the population. To this end, researchers from A6 are leveraging technologies developed by them in recent years at a high level of maturity, which will be exploited in Fit4MedRob to achieve a significant and lasting impact on society. Researchers from Activity 6 have finalized agreements with clinical centers where the experimentation will take place, defined experimental protocols in great detail, and implemented the requests of clinical colleagues to adapt the technology to the specific needs of each trial.

The technologies to be tested include various solutions customized according to clinicians' requirements. These include the ALTER-EGO robot as an innovative tool for the multidomain evaluation of children with neurodevelopmental disorders and disabilities; the SoftHand X system for the rehabilitation of impaired individuals, an anthropomorphic supernumerary hand that can be controlled by the user through surface EMG sensors and worn by a patient on the paretic limb; the ROBONOPAIN solution, incorporating the social robot Pepper as a pain management tool for children to alleviate pain, anxiety, fear, and stress associated with venous blood draws; the SensHand, MyCoach, and the CAIR robot, three robotic solutions for treating apathy in neurodegenerative diseases: respectively, a tool providing social grasping exercises, a telerobot, and a conversational robot to engage and motivate individuals; the NeglectARm 3D solution, consisting of the Franka Research 3 robotic arm and the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset, which will present various stimuli to the patient within the 3D VR space and will be used to measure the three-dimensional kinematics of movement and assist the patient in reaching the desired target if they are unable to do so autonomously; the Mover L robot and the software platform ROB.IN.CARE to monitor patients in care units; DriveSimRehab, a driving simulator applicable to the rehabilitation and evaluation of cognitive functioning through the development of exergames and tasks; solutions for robot-aided telerehabilitation, including the Tiago robot and additional sensors and tools, aimed at remotely supervising treatment of the upper limb in post-stroke patients; anthropomorphic collaborative manipulators used to generate and execute occupational exercises for the recovery of neurological capabilities of patients affected by Stroke, Parkinson's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); CAIR robotic solutions employing the conversational robot Pepper to reduce the incidence of delirium in older adults recovering in geriatric units of hospitals.

Currently, researchers from Activity 6 are awaiting approval from ethics committees, or they are ready to submit all necessary documentation to the relevant ethics committees to initiate the experimentation. Following this phase, notification to the Italian Ministry of the intention to start studies with medical devices will be made, as required by European regulations.

Are we on the path to measure an unprecedented impact of personal robots on the most vulnerable part of the population?

Filippo Cavallo
/ Università degli Studi di Firenze
Simona Crea
/ Scuola Universitaria Superiore Sant’Anna
Antonio Sgorbissa
/ Università degli Studi di Genova