Design, development and clinical assessment of therapeutic and prognostic method and technology for the rehabilitation of the upper limb of stroke survivors in acute and sub-acute phases


BioRobotics Institute Role: 

Project Lifetime
Dec 2011 to Dec 2013

Funding Institutions: 

Regione Toscana under the Regional Health Research Programme (2009)

Contribution to SSSA: 
594K euro

The EARLYREHAB project is a research project whose clinical, scientific and technological results will contribute to answer to some worldwide debated questions: does the early mobilization of upper limb of stroke survivors during the acute and sub-acute phases improve the outcomes of the rehabilitation therapy compared with conventional care? Is it possible to prognosticate the results of a neuro-rehabilitation therapy during the sub-acute phase? May the early mobilization after the stroke event be suitable for a large proportion of the stroke population? Which are the clinical characteristics of the patients who can most benefit from the treatment? Could such early mobilization contribute to an improved psychological well-being (i.e. reduction of depressive symptoms)?
Main objectives of the project are :
1. To define a rehabilitation method based on early mobilization of post-stroke patient’s upper-limb during the acute and sub-acute phases and to evaluate its rehabilitation outcomes;
2. To design and develop a bedside robotic orthesis able to assist the movements of the patient’s hand-wrist-elbow-shoulder. It will be a safe, comfortable, and modular system composed of hand-wrist, and elbow-shoulder modules;
3. To define a patient-therapy-outcome model able to prognosticate the results of the therapy;
4. To improve the recovery of the patient’s upper limb motor abilities;
5. To improve the patient’s motivation to participate in the rehabilitation treatment;
6. To evaluate the impact of the early mobilization using the bedside robotic orthesis on the potential reduction of direct and indirect healthcare costs.



T. Lenzi, S.M.M. De Rossi, N.Vitiello, M.C. Carrozza, "Intention-based EMG Control for Powered Exoskeleton", IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Issue 99, 2012.
A. Chiri, M. Cempini, S. M. M. De Rossi, T. Lenzi, F. Giovacchini, N. Vitiello, M. C. Carrozza, “On the design of ergonomic wearable robotic devices for motion assistance and rehabilitation”, in Proc. of the 2012 Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2012.
A. Chiri, N. Vitiello, F.Giovacchini, S.Roccella, F.Vecchi, M. C. Carrozza, Mechatronic Design and Characterization of the Index Finger Module of a Hand Exoskeleton for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation, IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics, DOI: 10.1109/TMECH.2011.2144614, 2011.
R. Ronsse, T. Lenzi, N.Vitiello, B.Koopman, E. van Asseldonk, S.M. M.De Rossi, J.van den Kieboom, H. van der Kooij, M.C.Carrozza, A. J. Ijspeert, Oscillator-based assistance of cyclical movements: model-based and model-free approaches, Med Biol Eng Comput (2011) 49:1173–1185, DOI 10.1007/s11517-011-0816-1

Meet the team