bioengineering laboratory of rehabilitation

The Bioengineering Laboratory of Rehabilitation

The Rehabilitation Bioengineering Laboratory was established in 2011 thanks to the agreement signed between Auxilium Vitae Volterra S. p.A. and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa.

The Laboratory is located in the Auxilium Vitae clinical facilities, in dedicated spaces, where the Scuo-la Superiore Sant’Anna has made available its own scientific equipment and its personnel who work in contact with the doctors and professionals of the rehabilitation of Auxilium. Vitae. The close collaboration between bioengineers, doctors and therapists has allowed the development and validation of innovative devices and rehabilitation treatments with the aim of improving the quality of life of patients and ensuring continuity of hospital-territory care.

Today the Laboratory continues its activities under the aegis of the Volterra Ricerche Foundation by taking advantage of a Scientific Committee composed of Prof. Paolo Dario, Director of the Biomedical Institute of the Sant’Anna School of Pisa, by Dr. Guido Vagheggini, Health Director of Auxilium Vitae, Prof. Stefano Mazzoleni, Biorobotics Institute of Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, and Prof. Nicolino Ambrosino, Research Consultant in Pneumology.

The research activities of the Bioengineering Laboratory of Rehabilitation are mainly focused on the following topics of scientific and clinical interest:

  1. Robotics for neurological rehabilitation
  2. Telerehabilitation and telemonitoring for respiratory rehabilitation
  3. Telerehabilitation and telemonitoring for cardiological rehabilitation
  4. Telerehabilitation for neurological rehabilitation
  5. Telemonitoring of patients in vegetative state / state of minimum consciousness


“Telerehabilitation” research project
1. Research lines: Neurorological tele-rehabilitation, respiratory tele-rehabilitation, cardiological tele-rehabilitation
2. Partner subject: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
3. Financing body: Cassa di Risparmio di Volterra Foundation
4. Period: 2008-2010

Development and application of TECnologies for Televalutation, alternative communication and environmental automation of patients with severe and severe disabilities “(TEC-TUM)
5. Research lines: Neurorological telerehabilitation
6. Proponent subject / coordinator: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
7. Partner subjects: Auxilium Vitae Volterra, Humanware Srl
8. Financing Body: Tuscany Region (Call for Young Researchers – P. O.R. Tuscany Regional Competitiveness and Employment 2007-2013)
9. Period: March 2010-February 2013

Telerehabilitation and Robotics
1. Research lines: 1) Robotic and mechatronic systems for neurorehabilitation (upper limb), 2) Cardio – Respiratory and Neuro-motor rehabilitation
2. Proponent subject / coordinator: Auxilium Vitae Volterra
3. Partner subjects: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
4. Financing body: Tuscany Region (Regional Research Program on Health 2009), co-funding of the Cassa di Risparmio di Volterra Foundation
5. Period: 2010-2012

Innovative technologies to support the rehabilitation program
1. Research lines: 1) Robotic and mechatronic systems for neuro-rehabilitation (lower limb and upper limb), 2) Cardio-respiratory and neuro-motor rehabilitation, 3) Home automation – ergonomic laboratory
2. Proponent subject / coordinator: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
3. Partner subjects: Auxilium Vitae Volterra
4. Financing body: Tuscany Region (Directorate General for Health and Solidarity Policies)
5. Period: 2009-2012

1. Proponent subject / coordinator: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
2. Partner subjects: Auxilium Vitae Volterra
3. Financing body: Tuscany Region (Program for Regional Research in Health 2009)
4. Period: 2011-2013

Development of a 2nd MObile roboT for NeurO rehabilitation (MOTO)
1. Proponent subject / coordinator: Humanware srl
2. Partner subjects: St. Anna School, Auxilium Vitae Volterra
3. Financing body: Tuscany Region
4. Period: 2010-2011

ASSO – An integrated eHealth environment to support continuity of care, providing complete risk management and patient empowerment
5. Coordinating entity: Dedalus SpA
6. Financing body: Tuscany Region (Single Call POR-CReO 2012 – line B)
7. Period: 2013-2015

COST Action 1006 – European Network on Robotics for NeuroRehabilitation
8. Financing body: EU Framework Program Horizon 2020
9. Period: 2011-2015

Task force “Telemonitoring of ventilator-dependent patients” (TF-2013-10)
10. Financing Body: European Respiratory Society (ERS)
11. Period: 2014-2016

  1. Ambrosino N, Vagheggini G, Mazzoleni S, Vitacca M. Telemedicine in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Breathe (Sheff). 2016 Dec;12(4):350-356. doi: 10.1183/20734735.014616.
  2. Ambrosino N, Venturelli E, de Blasio F, Paggiaro P, Pasqua F, Vitacca M, Vagheggini G, Clini EM. A prospective multicentric study of pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and different clinical phenotypes. Respiration. 2015;89(2):141-7. doi: 10.1159/000371471. Epub 2015 Jan 28.
  3. Sanguinetti CM, Ambrosino N, Andò F, De Benedetto F, Donner CF, Nardini S, Polverino M, Torchio R, Vagheggini G, Visconti A; Consensus Conference 2013 Group. Standards of suitability for the management of chronic obstructive respiratory diseases. Multidiscip Respir Med. 2014 Dec 18;9(1):65. doi: 10.1186/2049-6958-9-65. eCollection 2014.
  4. Vagheggini G, Vlad EP, Mazzoleni S, Bortolotti U, Guarracino F, Ambrosino N. Outcomes for difficult-to-wean subjects after cardiac surgery. Respir Care. 2015 Jan;60(1):56-62. doi: 10.4187/respcare.03315. Epub 2014 Oct 21.
  5. Di Paco A, Catapano GA, Vagheggini G, Mazzoleni S, Micheli ML, Ambrosino N. Ventilatory response to exercise of elite soccer players. Multidiscip Respir Med. 2014 Apr 2;9(1):20. doi: 10.1186/2049-6958-9-20.
  6. Venturelli E, Crisafulli E, DeBiase A, Righi D, Berrighi D, Cavicchioli PP, Vagheggini G, Dabrosca F, Balbi B, Paneroni M, Bianchi L, Vitacca M, Galimberti V, Zaurino M, Schiavoni G, Iattoni A, Ambrosino N, Clini EM. Efficacy of temporary positive expiratory pressure (TPEP) in patients with lung diseases and chronic mucus hypersecretion. The UNIKO® project: a multicentre randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2013 Apr;27(4):336-46. doi: 10.1177/0269215512458940. Epub 2012 Sep 11.
  7. Ambrosino N, Venturelli E, Vagheggini G, Clini E. Rehabilitation, weaning and physical therapy strategies in chronic critically ill patients. Eur Respir J. 2012 Feb;39(2):487-92. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00094411. Epub 2011 Dec 1. Review.
  8. Crisafulli E, Venturelli E, Biscione G, Vagheggini G, Iattoni A, Lucic S, Ambrosino N, Pasqua F, Cesario A, Clini EM. Exercise performance after standard rehabilitation in COPD patients with lung hyperinflation. Intern Emerg Med. 2014 Feb;9(1):23-31. doi: 10.1007/s11739-011-0727-z. Epub 2011 Nov 22.
  9. Ambrosino N, Janah N, Vagheggini G. Physiotherapy in critically ill patients. Rev Port Pneumol. 2011 Nov-Dec;17(6):283-8. doi: 10.1016/j.rppneu.2011.06.004. Epub 2011 Jul 22. Review.
  10. Montagnani G, Vagheggini G, Panait Vlad E, Berrighi D, Pantani L, Ambrosino N. Use of the Functional Independence Measure in people for whom weaning from mechanical ventilation is difficult. Phys Ther. 2011 Jul;91(7):1109-15. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20100369. Epub 2011 May 19.
  11. Carpenè N, Vagheggini G, Panait E, Gabbrielli L, Ambrosino N. A proposal of a new model for long-term weaning: respiratory intensive care unit and weaning center. Respir Med. 2010 Oct;104(10):1505-11. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2010.05.012. Epub 2010 Jun 11.