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A “soft” robot for hand rehabilitation

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A “soft” robot for hand rehabilitation

Among the most interesting trends in robotics, the development of “soft” devices, i.e. soft in contact with humans, boasts an Italian birthright, thanks to the pioneering studies conducted at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa and at the Italian Institute of Technology .

In particular, two scientists, Barbara Mazzolai of the Iit and Cecilia Laschi, who has now moved to the University of Singapore, have given the first moves to a line of research that has spread like wildfire throughout the world and is finding the first commercial applications.

Among these, a very interesting area of ​​development is that of wearable medical robotic systems, which also includes the research conducted by Daniele Bertoloni for his master’s degree, obtained at the University of Brescia under the supervision of professor Monica Tiboni. Bertoloni’s project is one of the three selected for the award of the Italian Mechatronics Award, organized by Unindustria Reggio Emilia in collaboration with Nòva-Il Sole 24 Ore and co-organized by Community. Metal Work, a Bresciano company that develops pneumatic controls, also collaborated on the job.

Hand exoskeleton

The result of the research conducted by Daniele Bertoloni is an exoskeleton, i.e. a wearable structure, designed for the rehabilitation of the hand in patients with manipulation difficulties resulting from brain injuries, caused for example by a heart attack or stroke.

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«The most interesting part of the job – says Bertoloni – was following the various aspects of the project, from the choice of materials, such as silicone, to the manufacturing techniques, up to the development of the controls, managed by solenoid valves connected to an Arduino board». A complex exercise which, the author admits, “also made us understand the weak points of the initial idea for the purposes of further development”.

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