Embodying wearable robots, the expert' body in rehabilitation, and the role of sleep

Proponente Luigi De Gennaro - Professore Ordinario
Sottosettore ERC del proponente del progetto
Componenti gruppo di ricerca

The next decade will see an increased use of wearable robotics in neurorehabilitation, including exoskeletons that enable the immobile to stand, walk, and even climb stairs. Despite the notion that only bio-inspired robots can alter the rehabilitation field, there have been limited attempts to develop user-centered robotic technologies. The proposal aims to generate new knowledge on the multisensory modulation of motor bodily experiences, and the impact of adopting an embodied approach when using robotic legs in cases of brain-body disconnection. An overall consensus is being reached on the importance for the future evolution of human robotic technologies of adopting an embodied approach, taking advantage of the brain's plasticity to allow bionic limbs to be mapped within the neural circuits of physically impaired individuals. This proposal will put EXO -expert/-no expert and therapists at the core of the process and optimally utilize the latter's knowledge and expertise, while promoting cognitive and physical human-to-human, EXO-mediated interactions. Due to the key role of sleep in offline memory reprocessing and plasticity, with new motor skill memories still being processed "offline" during consolidation, we also hypothesize that sleep changes can track plastic cerebral modifications related to tool use, predicting functional recovery.

LS5_6, LS5_3, LS5_4

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