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Customised robotics: with the 'Fit For Medical Robotics' project, Italian science revolutionises rehabilitation and treatment. The aim is to offer the most suitable technology for the patient according to pathology and age

After one year of the project, more than 50 studies with over 2000 patients in 25 clinical and research facilities nationwide have been initiated
Publication date: 07.02.2024
Health Science
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Which robotic technology is best suited to treat a single pathology, in which type of patient and at what age? The 'Fit For Medical Robotics' project answers this question with the ultimate goal of demonstrating the most effective use of robotic technology within a patient's rehabilitation pathway.
One year after its launch, the researchers took stock of the first results and demonstrated some of the technologies that will populate healthcare facilities. Today, robots for rehabilitation, exoskeletons for assistance, upper and lower limb prostheses, wearable sensors and artificial intelligence algorithms for communication and interaction with machines, augmented and virtual reality systems to facilitate interaction with technology are the subject of advanced research but still used in individual centres within small experimental studies that offer the first encouraging results but do not allow the clinical effectiveness of these technologies to be analysed systematically.

For the first time in Italy, research on advanced technologies for rehabilitation and treatment synergistically connects engineers and clinicians within more than 50 different studies with over 2000 patients involved in more than 25 facilities throughout Italy. The clinical and research centres and companies involved are working together thanks to funding of 126 million euro made available under the PNRR Complementary Plan by the Ministry of University and Research.

The statements

'In this first year,' says Professor Loredana Zollo, Full Professor of Bioengineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, 'we have moved from a very fragmented context to a new scenario characterised by a synergic and collaborative vision between dozens of clinical centres, universities, research centres and companies. The great challenge is to demonstrate that robotic technologies can effectively support the entire care pathway, from prevention to home care".

"Analysing this first year of work, it is appropriate to say: 'union is strength'. The synergy that has been created between the partners is the real driving force of the project. The aim is to make a decisive change in the current rehabilitation and care models aimed at patients of all ages through the use of new robotic and digital technologies" says Christian Cipriani, full professor of Industrial Bioengineering at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna and scientific director of the project.


The Fit For Medical Robotics Project

Fit4MedRob, coordinated by the National Research Council, sees the participation of 24 other partners, including 10 universities and research centres, 11 Irccs or clinical centres and 3 industrial companies. The aim of the project is to revolutionise current rehabilitation and assistive models for patients of all ages with reduced or absent motor, sensory or cognitive functions, by developing new bionic and biorobotic digital technologies, as well as innovative treatment paradigms capable of exploiting these technologies in all phases of the rehabilitation process, from prevention to home care in the chronic phase.

The project partners
Fit4MedRob brings together 25 partners, including 11 Universities and Research Centres, 11 IRCCSs and Clinical Centres and 3 industrial companies. Here is the complete list:
 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Cure Ortopediche Traumatologiche S.p.A., Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Fondazione Mondino, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Campus Bio-Medico, Fondazione Stella Maris, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Eugenio Medea dell’Associazione “La Nostra Famiglia”, Istituto Nazionale per l’Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro Centro Protesi Inail di Vigorso di Budrio, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Università degli Studi di Genova, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Università di Pisa, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Università degli Studi di Siena, Congregazione Suore Infermiere dell’Addolorata Villa Beretta – Ospedale Valduce, Eustema S.p.A., Item Oxygen SRL, Tecnobody s.r.l.