The HYPER Project intends to represent a breakthrough in the research of neurorobotic (NR) and motor neuroprosthetic (MNP) devices in close cooperation with the human body, both for rehabilitation and functional compensation of motor disorders in activities of daily living. The project will focus its activities on new wearable NR-MNP systems that will combine biological and artificial structures in order to overcome the major limitations of current rehabilitation solutions for the particular case of Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA), Cerebral Palsy (CP) and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).
The main objectives of the project are to restore motor function in SCI patients through functional compensation and to promote motor control re-learning in patients suffering from CVA and CP by means of an integrated use of neurorobotics and neuroprosthetics.
The project will both functionally and clinically validate the concept of developing hybrid NR-MNP systems for rehabilitation and functional compensation of motor disorders, under the assist-as-needed paradigm. In the HYPER view, we assume that the improvement of physical rehabilitation therapies depends on achieving a more interrelated and transparent communication between the human system and the machines, and therefore, different levels of human neural activity are explored.
The project addresses key questions at the frontier of knowledge in various scientific and technological disciplines. These questions are investigated in six research tracks (biomechanics, neuromotor control, control technologies, actuator sensors and powering technologies, multimodal brain machine interfaces, adaptations of hybrid systems to application scenarios) with horizontal interrelationships:
- The systems will deal with variability in the human neuromuscular structures, with dynamical adaptations according to the latent motor capabilities of the users.
The proposed approach will promote both sensory and motor control re-training and brain plasticity. This will lead to potential rehabilitation solutions for stroke and cerebral palsy patients and to functional compensation solutions for spinal cord injury patients.
HYPER proposes a multimodal BMI which main goal is to explore different levels of neural activity, characterize the required support and the user involvement, and modify the intervention at the periphery with hybrid NR-NP systems.
HYPER proposes as well a framework for training highly specialised scientist and technologists in a variety of disciplines. The project aims at achieving scientific knowledge of the highest standard and, at the same time, exploit technologies being developed. As a consequence, a team of key industrial partners in the different domains have shown their commitment towards our project and will be involved in monitoring and exploration of potential outcomes.