The goal of Rehab Technologies - INAIL - IIT Lab is to create innovative high-tech solutions for patients with physical impairment supported by the National Health Service (INAIL).
The solutions developed so far include a poly-articulated hand prosthesis (Hannes), a motorized exoskeleton for the walking of paraplegic subjects (Twin) and a robotic rehabilitation platform for the lower limbs and the trunk (Hunova).
In addition, we are working on the completion of several other products, including projects on prostheses for both lower and upper extremities, and upper-limb robotic rehabilitation systems.
Through these collaborations, INAIL and IIT have consolidated their commitment to solving issues relating to physical disability, and have promoted “Made in Italy” technologies, with a high social impact, on to the national and international market, at a competitive cost.
Our laboratory is certified in accordance with the international standard of quality management for medical devices, ISO 13485.
Our research also aims to transfer technology and know-how, developed within Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, to the medical market, in order to let them be at the service of human health.
Rehabilitation devices have the objective of allowing a person to recover compromised functionality as a result of an injury, neurological-trauma, or age.
The current rehabilitation processes used in the orthopedic and neurological fields, often utilise a series of simple tools and devices. These, besides requiring a considerable organisational and physical commitment to the operators of the sector, do not guarantee the repeatability of the exercises, and do not guarantee any measurable or objective improvement for the patient.
To meet the needs of patients and therapists alike, Hunova was developed, the first commercial product developed by the Rehab Technologies - INAIL - IIT Lab.
The hand prosthesis HANNES aims to bridge the gap, on the one hand between complex poly-articulated and multifunctional prostheses, which are capable of very high performance, but which are very expensive and contain very delicate and complex mechanisms, and on the other hand, tri-digital prostheses, which are characterized by low cost, robustness and ease-of-use, but offering limited versatility and poor aesthetics.
Hannes aims to be easy to use, robust, low-cost and simple but with the versatility of grip and aesthetic appearance comparable to that of the human hand. This device derives its technology from from a collaboration between Pisa and the IIT SoftHand project, which was initially developed for humanoid robots.
In addition, a project is also underway that involves integrating the hand prosthesis HANNES into a complete upper-extremity prosthetic system.
This exoskeleton has the objective of becoming a personal device that allows spinal patients to walk autonomously, through a design approach that emphasizes ease of use, wear-ability, and transportability of the exoskeleton.
The device currently under development intends to benefit paraplegic patients, however, adaptations are being made to the machine that will also allow its use in -the rehabilitation of neurological disorders.
The post-injury and post-surgical trauma of the shoulder represent on average about 20% of all physical disabilities treated at the largest Italian centre’s of rehabilitation. Mainly, these are injuries of the rotator cuff.
The recovery pathway, which requires a considerable commitment of time by a physiotherapist devoted to each and every single individual patient, can be slowed down or hindered by persistence of pain, joint stiffness and low patient stamina.
For this reason, a robotic device for the upper extremities and in particular for the shoulder is currently being developed, in order to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the rehabilitation process for this particular area of the body.
The current device under-development can also be used on other types of patients, such as those with a neurological disorder, through a future integration of appropriate control capabilities.
The near-total majority of lower-limb devices fitted to patients to date are either passive, or do not fully consider or regulate themselves depending on patient’s type of walk., therefore entirely depending on the remaining muscles of the patient and on the interaction of the prosthesis with the external environment, which often results inefficient and unnatural walking style. However, these problems can be balanced by the use of active electromechanical prosthetics, but at much higher cost than their passive counter-parts.
The lower limb prosthesis system currently under development, has the prerogative of being a high-tech device, which can nevertheless “bridge the gap” between simple passive devices and very advanced and effective, yet very expensive prostheses currently available on the market.
Rehab Technologies - INAIL - IIT Lab is a laboratory specialized in the realisation of new prosthetic, orthotic and rehabilitation devices, which is situated in the heart of the central laboratories of IIT in Genoa, one of the largest robotics research centres in Europe.
The design, development and testing of devices is entrusted to a team of about 35 engineers and technicians, specialized in Mechatronics, Biomedical-neuro and computer-science.
Rehab Technologies - INAIL - IIT Lab also collaborates with a network of external partners to combine technical and scientific expertise on aspects of the final marketable product, such as industrial design, ergonomics, and production engineering.
The Rehab Technology Centre occupies over 250 m2 of laboratory space including a workshop equipped for the rapid-prototyping, construction, assembly and testing of all the devices designed at IIT, up to and including the phase of pre-production.