Laboratory of Engineering of Neuromuscular System and Motor Rehabilitation

Featured projects (1)

Development of wearable and modular acquisition systems for bipolar and multi-channel sEMG. The systems are designed to be used either in clinical, research, rehabilitation, and tele-medicine contexts.

Featured research (4)

Sensorimotor integration is the process through which the human brain plans the motor program execution according to external sources. Within this context, corticomuscular and corticokinematic coherence analyses are common methods to investigate the mechanism underlying the central control of muscle activation. This requires the synchronous acquisition of several physiological signals, including EEG and sEMG. Nevertheless, physical constraints of the current, mostly wired, technologies limit their application in dynamic and naturalistic contexts. In fact, although many efforts were made in the development of biomedical instrumentation for EEG and HD-sEMG signal acquisition, the need for an integrated wireless system is emerging. We hereby describe the design and validation of a new fully wireless body sensor network for the integrated acquisition of EEG and HD-sEMG signals. This Body Sensor Network is composed of wireless bio-signal acquisition modules, named sensor units, and a set of synchronization modules used as a general-purpose system for time-locked recordings. The system was characterized in terms of accuracy of the synchronization and quality of the collected signals. An in-depth characterization of the entire system and an end-to-end comparison of the wireless EEG sensor unit with a wired benchmark EEG device were performed. The proposed device represents an advancement of the State-of-the-Art technology allowing the integrated acquisition of EEG and HD-sEMG signals for the study of sensorimotor integration.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders, reported at shoulder and low back regions, rank among the most serious health problems in industry. Owing to their ability in providing support to the shoulder and back regions during sustained and repetitive tasks, passive exoskeletons are expected to prevent work-related disorders. In this work, experimental protocols were conducted for the extraction of relevant information regarding the neuromuscular activation and kinematics during simulated working activities with passive exoskeletons. Our results support the notion these passive exoskeletons have the potential to alleviate muscular loading and therefore to prevent musculoskeletal disorders in the industrial sector.
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation finds application in several fields, from basic neurophysiology, to motor rehabilitation and cardiovascular conditioning. Despite the progressively increasing interest in this technique, its State-of-the-Art technology is mainly based on monolithic, mostly wired devices, leading to two main issues. First, these devices are often bulky, limiting their usability in applied contexts. Second, the possibility of interfacing these stimulation devices with external systems for the acquisition of electrophysiological and biomechanical variables to control the stimulation output is often limited. The aim of this work is to describe the design and development of an innovative electrical stimulator, specifically developed to contend with these issues. The developed device is composed of wireless modules that can be programmed and easily interfaced with third-party instrumentation. Moreover, benefiting from the system modular architecture, stimulation may be delivered concurrently to different sites while greatly reducing cable encumbrance. The main design choices and experimental tests are documented, evidencing the practical potential of the device in use-case scenarios.
Muscle activity monitoring in dynamic conditions is a crucial need in different scenarios, ranging from sport to rehabilitation science and applied physiology. The acquisition of surface electromyographic (sEMG) signals by means of grids of electrodes (High-Density sEMG, HD-sEMG) allows to obtain relevant information on muscle function and recruitment strategies. During dynamic conditions, this possibility demands both a wearable and miniaturized acquisition system and a system of electrodes easy to wear, assuring a stable electrode-skin interface. While recent advancements have been made on the former issue, detection systems specifically designed for dynamic conditions are at best incipient. The aim of this work is to design, characterize, and test a wearable, HD-sEMG detection system based on a textile technology. A 32-electrodes, 15 mm inter-electrode distance textile grid was designed and prototyped. The electrical properties of the material constituting the detection system and of the electrode-skin interface were characterized. The quality of sEMG signals was assessed in both static and dynamic contractions. The performance of the textile detection system was comparable to that of conventional systems in terms of stability of the traces, properties of the electrode-skin interface and quality of the collected sEMG signals during quasi-isometric and highly dynamic tasks.

Lab head

Marco Gazzoni
  • DET - Department of Electronics and Telecommunications
About Marco Gazzoni
  • My chief expertise concerns the development of surface EMG techniques (detection and processing) for the non-invasive investigation of the neuromuscular system with applications in basic physiology, ergonomics, rehabilitation, and sport science. Current projects are focused on: 1. The development of wearable devices and sensors for Surface EMG 2. Human machine interface, EMG biofeedback, rehabilitation games 3. Application of the developed techniques in basic physiology, rehabilitation, occupational medicine and sports.

Members (8)

Roberto Merletti
  • Politecnico di Torino
Taian Martins Vieira
  • Politecnico di Torino
Alberto Botter
  • Politecnico di Torino
Giacinto Luigi Cerone
  • Politecnico di Torino
Fabio Vieira dos Anjos
  • Centro Universitario Augusto Motta
Talita Peixoto Pinto
  • Instituto D’Or de Pesquisa e Ensino
Marco Carbonaro
  • Politecnico di Torino
Alessandra Giangrande
  • Politecnico di Torino
Giacinto Luigi Cerone
Giacinto Luigi Cerone
  • Not confirmed yet