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Empowering Novel Augmentation Body Limb Embodiment

Project objectives

Humans have always tried to augment their abilities with the help of tools; lenses, fast vehicles, pincers and tongs. Today’s achievements in sciences and engineering need to reconsider human-tools interaction in the framework of human augmentation, exploiting artificial devices to increase physical ability of able-bodied individuals, beyond the normal health status.

Human brain can expand its motor control to Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRL) or else receive sensory information from external accessory sensors and plastically embed them into its representation of the body (embodiment).

Beside in dangerous jobs, SRLs could help human in a number of complex task (i.e. surgery).

ENABLE is a paradigm shift from development only driven by dexterity to developing robotic limb in order to be embodiable. This breakthrough, possible only by mixing cognitive neuroscience and neurophysiology with a global engineering view on Robotics, has been never attempted so far!

Furthermore, ENABLE would help neuroscientists understand how the brain controls limbs and tools and how augmentation plasticity can enhance the sense of the self. However, it also may pave the way to new therapeutic strategies to ameliorate amputee’s phantom limb pain and other disorders of the perception of the body. SRL embodiment could provide an extend sense of protection against threats to the artifact.

Finally, ENABLE findings on augmentation can be easily translated to other wearable systems designed for functional substitution in disabled patients.

Start/End Date

2016 - 2021

Principal Investigator

Giovanni Di Pino

Host Institution

UCBM

Source of funding

Ministero dell'Istruzione, Università e Ricerca - Procedura per l'attuazione dell'intervento FARE Ricerca in Italia: Framework per l'attrazione ed il rafforzamento delle eccellenze per la Ricerca in Italia

Budget

Euro: 193.798