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Digitising schools: rowing simulator promotes inclusion thanks to the Hairemi project of the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence of the Sant'Anna School

Publication date: 16.02.2024
progetto HAIREMI
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Researchers from the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence start testing the rowing simulator. The activity is taking place as part of the HAIREMI project (Haptic Advanced Interactive Rower Enhancing Muscles and Inclusive) financed by the ESA (European Space Agency): students from Province of Naples will be able to try out the simulation of rowing in pairs and toe strokes, with the athletic gesture also visible through the use of virtual reality.

The HAIREMI Project, for which Alessandro Filippeschi, assistant professor in the Intelligent Automation Systems Area of the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence coordinated by Prof. Carlo Alberto Avizzano, is responsible for the school, is one of the initiatives promoted by ESA for the digitalisation of schools and promotes inclusion through the promotion of sporting activity.
The rowing simulator provides a very realistic rowing experience that adheres to the characteristics of real rowing. In the project, co-ordinated by Protom S.p.A., the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna provided the robotic component of the simulator and the physical simulation models, while the Italian Rowing Federation participated in the definition of the requirements and in the experimental activities functional to the design and evaluation of the system.

HAIREMI allows users a multiplayer experience in which students physically located in different schools can compete against each other within a virtual reality environment. The goal of HAIREMI is inclusion, particularly for students with disabilities who may not be able to perform a complex and physically demanding act such as that required in rowing. In fact, the system is equipped with a rudder that allows a user to cooperate with the rower by changing the direction of the boat. In addition, the design of the robotic component of the system allows the central part to be removed and replaced to accommodate and anchor wheelchairs. 

Users can choose from four types of experience: free rowing, inline race, slalom and race against a GNSS track. The game management system allows the user's anthropometric data to be entered and the behaviour of virtual companions and opponents to be determined. The system also allows the user to choose the avatar with which to experience rowing. Each user has an account on the HAIREMI website where they can access their performance history and evaluate their progress.

Cover photo: Alessandro Filippeschi, assistant professor at the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence, and head of the Hayremi Project for Schools.

Gallery: Alessandro Filippeschi and Giulia Bassani work on assembling the rowing machine, testing the data sheets, sensors and mechanical parts of the oar joints.