international awards and recognition: SANT'ANNA school biorobotics institute researcher Awarded the "LEONARDO DA VINCI" prize by rotary club international for important contributions to wearable robotics research

The Rotary International organization, one of the world’s largest and most successful global membership and humanitarian service organizations, with 1.2 million members in over 200 countries, recognized Simona Crea, a researcher at the Biorobotics Institute of Sant’Anna School, with the prestigious International Prize Leonardo da Vinci.

The “Leonardo da Vinci” prize was initiated and founded by the Florence Rotary Club together with the collaboration and support of Tours, Athens and Wien-Ring Rotary Clubs. The initiative aims to award a prize to young (aged under 35) researchers who distinguish themselves in any field of activity.

Robotic Exoskeletons are aimed at improving mobility or assisting users (after spinal cord injuries and post-stroke patients) in their motor rehabilitation. Specifically, hand exoskeletons can be used to improve functionality of hands in performing activities of daily life. “I am deeply honored to receive this award” said Simona Crea, during the International Prize Leonardo da Vinci award ceremony on June 8, 2019, in Florence - Sala dei Cinquecento di Palazzo Vecchio.

“Biorobotics is developing beyond the state of the art robotic devices. We aim at developing extremely accurate and unobtrusive wearable robots to assist individuals with muscle weakness or patients who suffer from physical or neurological disorders”, said Crea. “We hope these robots will minimize the interference with the body's natural biomechanics. Our approach is to design new devices to measure human kinematics and human interaction forces that are compliant and cost effective, offering easy integration and sustainable wearable technology”.

Simona Crea is a researcher at the Sant’Anna School Biorobotics Institute. She received her PhD degree in Biorobotics under the supervision of Nicola Vitiello. Her work on wearable exoskeletons for hands, arms and legs combines mechatronics, foldable robotics, haptics devices and machine learning algorithms. Since 2017, EU funded research projects and applications at the Biorobotics Institute have included rehabilitation, prosthetics, and augmentation of motor capacity.

“I would like to thank for the opportunity to be a PhD student in Sant’Anna School and thank Professor Paolo Dario for being such a huge source of inspiration, motivation and knowledge” – added Simona Crea. “At the Wearable Robotics Lab, Professors Maria Chiara Carrozza and Nicola Vitiello have been spending efforts and enthusiasm to create an amazing research group where we all contribute to future technologies and perform cutting-edge research. I wish to thank them all for their guidance, support, and motivation”.

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