Artificial Hands


The Artificial Hands Area (AHA) of The BioRobotics Institute | Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies conducts research into mechatronics and human-machine interfaces for advanced robotic limbs to be used as thought-controlled prostheses.
Current research topics include upper-limb prosthetics including partial hand prostheses, robotic hands and dexterous grasping, non-invasive human machine interfaces for the physiological control of prehension, robust artificial tactile sensors, wearable sensory feedback devices, closed loop control prosthetics. In addition the Area is involved in Consortiums dealing with cognitive robotics, human-robot interaction (see human-robot interaction Lab) and neuro-controlled prosthetics (see TNE Area).
In the research of the AHA special emphasis is placed in the development of reliable and effective devices that can be used outside of the laboratory and exploited commercially. This attitude allowed to spun out in 2009 Prensilia which is a start up company that develops and commercialized robotic hands for research and industry. 18 labs around the world deploy today hands originally developed at Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies.

Principal Investigators


Grants and Collaborations

The AHA is grateful to the funding agencies which support its research, under the following active projects:

  • PPR3 "Development of prosthetic finger phalanges" funded by INAIL - National Workers' Compensation
  • Nebias "NEurocontrolled BIdirectional Artificial upper limb and hand prosthesiS" FP7-ICT-2013.9.6 FET from EC
  • WAY "Wearable interfaces for hAnd function recoverY", FP7-ICT-288551 from EC
  • MY-HAND "Myoelectric-Hand prosthesis with Afferent Non-invasive feedback Delivery" FIRB2010 from Italian Ministry of Education and Research
  • COGLABORATION "Successful Real World Human-Robot Collaboration: From the Cognition of Human-Human Collaboration to the Cognition of Fluent Human-Robot Collaboration" FP7-ICT-CH2-STREP from EC


IH2 Azzurra and the soft touch
Dexterous control of a prosthetic hand using fine-wire intramuscular electrodes in targeted muscles (with University of Colorado Denver)
sEMG based bimanual manipulation (with DLR, Munich)


Recent Publications
  • M. Controzzi, F. Montagnani, C. Cipriani, “Non-Back-Drivable Rotary Mechanism with Intrinsic Compliance for Robotic Thumb Abduction/Adduction,” Advanced Robotics, In press, 2014.
  • M. D'Alonzo, F. Clemente, C. Cipriani, "Vibrotactile stimulation promotes embodiment of an alien hand in amputees with phantom sensations," IEEE Trans. on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, In press, 2014. Read this article
  • C. Cipriani, J. Segil, F. Clemente, R. Weir, B. Edin, "Humans can integrate feedback of discrete events in their sensorimotor control of a robotic hand," Experimental Brain Research , vol. 232, no. 11, pp. 3421-3429, 2014. Read this article
  • C. Cipriani, J. Segil, A. Birdwell, R. Weir, “Dexterous control of a prosthetic hand using fine-wire intramuscular electrodes in targeted extrinsic muscles,” IEEE Trans. on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 828-836, 2014. pdf (or watch the video)
  • S. Raspopovic, M. Capogrosso, F. Petrini, M. Bonizzato, J. Rigosa, G. Di Pino, J. Carpaneto, M. Controzzi, T. Boretius, E. Fernandez, G. Granata, C. M. Oddo, L. Citi, A.L. Ciancio, C. Cipriani, M.C.  Carrozza, W. Jensen, E. Guglielmelli, T. Stieglitz, P.M. Rossini, S. Micera, "Restoring natural sensory feedback in real-time bidirectional hand prostheses," Science Translational Medicine, vol. 6, no. 222, pp. 222ra19, 2014. Read this article
Our Team

The AHA group:

Christian Cipriani, Associate Professor
Marco Controzzi, Assistant Professor
Marco D'Alonzo, Post-Doc
Alessio Ghionzoli, Post-Doc
Gunter Kanitz, PhD Student
Francesco Clemente, PhD Student
Federico Montagnagni, PhD Student
Carlo Peccia, PhD Student
Ilario Imbinto, PhD Student
Harmeet Singh, PhD Student
Sergio Tarantino, PhD Student
Torquato Cecchini, Senior Engineer
Michele Bacchereti, Senior Engineer
Diego Barone, Senior Engineer
Lorenzo Bassi Luciani, Senior Engineer
Francesca Spagnuolo, Research Manager