I’ve added a brand new page to my blog! Just click here (or keep on reading this post) to know a bit more about my current research interests.
My biomedical and robotics engineering multidisciplinary background, along with the experience gained in the course of my doctoral program, allow me to accomplish different tasks. My main research interests are briefly summarized below.
Development of a software for hand rehabilitation
A 3D interface developed in Unity3D (C# language) is proposed for the purpose of processing in real time the data collected by one Leap Motion Controller connected to a common personal computer. The movements required by the rehabilitation program can be recorded by the physiotherapist and saved by the software as a set of reference models. The user is asked to select the movement they wish to practice via the Leap Motion Controller, thus without any invasive external device. Throughout the whole rehabilitation exercise, the software is able to detect in real time the orientation of the user’s hand phalanges and palm; those data are compared to the reference model (white hand in the figure above) and the accuracy of the performed movement is shown in real time by means of three different colors (green, orange and red segments in the figure above). The speed and the difficulty of the exercises can be progressively adjusted to the user’s needs: this allows to continuously provide challenging exercises as well as to keep track of the user’s improvements in accuracy. Besides being extremely low-cost and non-invasive, the proposed 3D interface is really user-friendly and is mainly intended to speed up the whole rehabilitation process.
Development of a lower limb exoskeleton for partial body weight support
My current research focuses on the design and manufacturing of a lower limb exoskeleton for partial body weight support. Such assistive devices is intended to be proposed to the following two communities:
those people who suffer from muscle weakness problems (ie: upon long periods of hospitalisation, after injuries or accidents);
those subjects who need specific rehabilitation programs where the residual mobility capabilities need to be progressively enhanced by lightweight and energy-efficient devices.
The key idea consists in joining the support provided by crutches and walkers to the advantages brought by a legged structure. The proposed lower limb exoskeleton should be as much portable as possible; partial body weight support should be continuously provided to the patient, so as to relieve a part of the efforts experienced by the lower limb muscles during daily life activities. The design must be at the same time robust and efficient, in order to provide support without affecting the user’s posture, balance and stability. Gait analysis is meant to be performed in real time during normal walking by processing the data of specific sensors (embedded in the shoe soles) collected by a compact Arduino system.
The bursae of the knee can be defined in a very simple way: they are fluid sacs, or synovial pockets. This second definition comes from the sinovial fluid that fills them.
Synovial fluid is made of hyaluronic acid and lubricin, proteinases and collagenases. Its main functions are reducing friction by lubricating the joint, absorbing shocks and properly “feeding” joint cartilage. In the case of the knee, the Knee Capsule encloses the Knee Cavity which is filled with synovial fluid. Knee Bursae surround and sometimes communicate with the Knee Cavity, as we can see in the picture.
Usually Knee Bursae are thin-walled and represent the weak point of the joint. At the same time, their presence is really important since they enlarge the joint space. They can be grouped according to:
their characterization as communicating and non-communicating bursae. A communicating bursa is when a bursa is located adjacent to a joint, thus having the synovial membrane in communication with the joint itself.
their location (frontal, lateral, medial).
In pathological conditions, such as excessive local friction, infection, arthritides or direct trauma, fluid and debris collect within the bursa or fluid extends into the bursa from the adjacent joint. As a consequence, the walls of the bursa thicken as the bursal inflammation becomes longstanding. The term bursitis refers to pathological enlargement of the bursa. Clinically, bursitis mimics several peripheral joint and muscle abnormalities.
The Laboratory of Medical Information Processing(LaTIM – INSERM UMR 1101) is a research team made up of the University Hospital of Brest, the Faculty of Medicine and Telecom Bretagne (graduate engineering school). It carries out many projects in three main research areas:
Computer-Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery (IPAL research team);
Quantitative Multimodal Imaging for Diagnosis and Therapy (Quantitative Multi-modality Imaging Team);
Multimedia Medical Information Indexing, Tracking and Integrity (IT2IM Team).
These three themes are integrated within a methodological approach of the diagnostic and therapeutic imaging based on information and knowledge. For my PhD project I am member of the IPAL Team, carrying out my research in the field of Computer-Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery (CAOS).