A Modular Smart System for Infants’ Rehabilitation At Home based on Mechatronic Toys

BioRobotics Institute Role: 

Project Lifetime
Nov 2011 to Oct 2014

Funding Institutions: 

European Commission

Research Program: 
Grant no.: 
SSSA Total Cost: 
Contribution to SSSA: 
Dedicated website: 

Stroke and other neurological conditions affect the population of infants in percentages that cannot be considered marginal. Preterm infants are the highest infants at risk for neurological damage. Currently, infants have rehabilitation sessions few times a week in rehabilitation centres but according to basic neuroscience it would be necessary to provide them with an early, intensive and multiaxial intervention. One option to reduce the cost of the entire European Healthcare System while increasing the practice of rehabilitation is to devise therapies and technologies that can be administered at home by caregivers and telemonitored by rehabilitation staff. The aim of this proposal is to promote early intervention in the first year of life and to reinforce therapy by “CareToy”: a portable low cost smart system telemonitored thus augmenting the clinical effectiveness of the therapy while reducing the cost.

The smart system is based on a common baby gym, composed of different modules:

an instrumented baby gym with mechatronic hanging toys, so that the infants’ actions on the gym can be measured and stimulated,
a vision module, for measuring and promoting infants’ attention and gaze movements and
a sensorized mat for measuring and promoting postural control.

Each module will also incorporate built-in signal processor, memory and wireless communication. A fourth telerehabilitation module completes the system that allows the system to remotely communicate with the rehabilitation staff for monitoring and assessing the rehabilitation techniques. CareToy and the effectiveness of home rehabilitation based on this system will be validated by clinical trials on 100 preterm infants with different brain lesions.

The result of this project could have a large impact. CareToy may become a commercial product, manufactured on a large scale and distributed not only in rehabilitation centres but also at homes, sold or rented by the Health Care System to families as a therapeutic tool for care intensity.

What we do: 

We are the project coordinator and the responsible partner for the development of the hardware modules of the CareToy systems.


Fondazione Stella Maris, Italy - STMicroelectronics, Italy - Univerza v Ljubljani, Slovenia - Universitaet Hamburg, Germany - Fonden for Helene Elsass Centeret, Denmark - Marketing Research & Development SpA, Italy

Media - pictures: 



S.M. Serio, T. Assaf, F. Cecchi, C. Laschi, P. Dario “A novel Wireless Toy for Measuring Infants’ Bimanual Actions”, IEEE RAS / EMBS Intl. Conf on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob), Rome (Italy) 2012
G. Cioni and G. Sgandurra, Normal psychomotor development (Ch. 1) in: Handbook of Clinical Neurology, Vol. 111 (3rd series) Pediatric Neurology Part I, O. Dulac, M. Lassonde and H.B. Sarnat, Editors, Elsevier B.V., in press
J. PAŠIČ, M. MIHELJ, M. MUNIH "Združevanje multisenzornih informacij za klasifikacijo gibanja pri dojenčkih (Multisensory fusion for movement classification in newborns)." Proceedings of the twenty-first International Electrotechnical and Computer Science Conference ERK 2012, 2012, Volume B, p.p. 185-188
M. Donati, N. Vitiello, S. M. M. De Rossi, T. Lenzi, S. Crea, A. Persichetti, F. Giovacchini, B. Koopman, J. Podobnik, M. Munih, M. C. Carrozza. "A flexible sensor technology for the distributed measure of interaction pressure", Sensors, 2012. In press.

Meet the team