Available master thesis

Thesis Large-scale cerebellar Spiking Neural Networks to simulate sensorimotor paradigms
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisors Claudia Casellato (claudia.casellato@polimi.it)
Alberto Antonietti (alberto.antonietti@polimi.it)
Alice Geminiani (alice.geminiani@polimi.it)
Collaborations Prof. Egidio D’Angelo and Claudia CasellatoUniversity of Pavia
EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland)
Description
  • Aim:

Starting from a scaffold of the cerebellar circuit, to implement a cerebellar Spiking Neural Network in the NEST simulator, embedding detailed single neuron dynamics, plasticity mechanisms and geometry-based connectivity; the network will be exploited to simulate sensorimotor paradigms in physiological and pathological conditions.

  • Project phases:

– Literature research on the main properties of the cerebellar circuit.
– Integration of new properties in the NEST-based cerebellar Spiking Neural Network
– Closed-loop simulations of cerebellum-driven protocols.

Thesis Instrumented cane for transparent gait monitoring
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Prof. Alberto Borghese, AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Description
  • Aim:

Alteration of gait patterns is an important sign of physical decline of community-dwelling elderly people. Transparent monitoring during every-day walking is crucial to early detect degradation indexes correlated to gait pattern. The aim of this thesis is the detailed analysis of daily gait parameters measured by an instrumented cane (handle embedded with pressure and inertial sensors based on ST SensorTile solution) and a pair of sensorised insoles may represent a valid solution for the early detection of gait impairments in elderly.

  • Project phases:

– Literature research on gait features which can be linked to frailty in elderlies
– Synchronize and fuse data coming from the handle and from the insoles
– Design of algorithms to estimate relevant gait features and parameters
– Experimental validation during indoor/outdoor gait

Thesis Smart pen for handwriting monitoring
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisors Stefano Tolomeo (stefano.tolomeo@polimi.it)
Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Prof. Alberto Borghese, AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Description
  • Aim:

Handwriting is a complex task which becomes increasingly difficult with ageing due to decreasing grip force or limited sensations and movements in fingers.
Several studies have identified changes in handwriting parameters in elderly such as writing speed, pen pressure, smoothness of the trajectory, tremor, etc.
Is it possible to detect early signs of decline in elderly analysing daily life handwriting? The aim of this thesis is the use of a smart pen with built-in pressure, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, together with a tablet to analyze handwriting parameters can be used to shed light on this topic and allow the detection of early cognitive deficits in elderlies.

  • Project phases:

Starting from an instrumented and ergonomic pen for writing on standard paper, with built-in sensors (pen pressure, accelerometer, gyroscope):

– Literature research on relevant handwriting parameters and changes with age
– Development of handwriting models based on the literature studies with advanced functionalities
– Validation of the models against a tablet with a stylus
– Validation of the system on a group of healthy elderly subjects

Thesis Exergames for physical training in elderly
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Prof. Alberto Borghese, AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Description
  • Aim:

Age-related weakening of  sensory  and  neuromuscular control mechanisms has a negative effect on balance, which translates in an increased risk of falling.
Balance training becomes a key tool to  prevent  falls  in  elderly, but it is difficult to obtain adherence to prevention physical programs for elderly.
The use of exergaming  to boost  the  user’s  motivation in participating in engaging balance and physical training programs may represent a valid solution to prevent the risk of falling in elderly

  • Project phases:

starting from a game controlled through instrumented insoles and the design of the first exergame:

– Literature research on physical exergames in elderly
– Study of physical parameters which can be linked to frailty in elderly
– Design and development of more exergames to train physical aspects in elderly (with introduction of dual-task paradigm in the physical game)
– Validation of the exergames on a group of healthy elderly subjects

Thesis Mobile App for Auditory Cueing to reduce Freezing of Gait in patients with Parkinson’s Disease
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisors Stefano Tolomeo (stefano.tolomeo@polimi.it)
Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Dr Giorgio Ferriero, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Description
  • Aim:

Freezing of gait (FOG) is a debilitating symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and occurs when patients are unable to move their feet when trying to walk.
Auditory Cueing is the process whereby movement is synchronized to (rhythmic) sounds.
Although many studies have reported a positive effect of auditory cueing in reducing FOG in PD patients, the underlying mechanisms are still unclear.
The development of a mobile app that provides PD patients with auditory cues to guide their gait may represent an efficient solution to investigate FOG reduction in everyday life.

  • Project phases:

thanks to the availability of PD patients at the Salvatore Maugeri Foundation:

– Literature research on auditory cueing to reduce FOG in PD patients
– Design, development and validation of Mobile App in clinical and home settings
– Investigate the effect of different auditory cueing strategies in improving FOG in a group of PD patients

Thesis Voice analysis to detect stress and cognitive decline
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations SignalGeneriX Ltd (possibility to spend a period of the thesis abroad)
Description
  • Aim:

Voice signals provide important information to measure and model human behaviors, especially to estimate the emotional state of a person. Characteristics of the voice signal, such as glottal spectral slope, pitch or intensity, may offer information about the voice stress levels. Various types of dementia affect human speech and language, and disorders or irregularities in the language domain could be a strong predictor of disease progression.
In this thesis, the student will develop and validate a software tool able to automatically to extract a set of stress indicators and features sensitive to cognitive decline from voice signals .

  • Project phases:

starting from a microphone with an embedded system for speech recognition and pre-processing available at Signal GeneriX Ltd:
– Literature review on vocal indicators of stress and cognitive decline
– Creation of a database of normal and stress voice samples from elderly
– Design and validation of an algorithm to compute voice signal characteristics (e.g pitch, jitter, pace, gottal closure openings and closing instants, etc.)
– Integration of the microphone in the MOVECARE architecture (http://www.movecare-project.eu/)

Thesis Smart objects for monitoring and early detection of frailty in elderlies
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisors Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Stefano Tolomeo (stefano.tolomeo@polimi.it)
Collaborations Prof. Alberto Borghese, AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Description
  • Aim:

The aging population represents an issue that will put more demands and additional costs on the society in developed countries. The European MoveCare project tackles this issue by developing a comprehensive platform that achieves monitoring, assistance, and stimulation of community-dwelling elderlies. The transparent monitoring of the pre-frailty elder during his/her daily activities is crucial for the early detection of physical decline. The aim of the current thesis is the use of smart objects, such as a sensorized ball or handle, may represent a valid solution to capture subtle changes, thus allowing the early detection of physical decline in elderlies

  • Project phases:

starting from available smart objects:

– Literature research on relevant features which can be linked to frailty in elderlies, such as tremor, grip force, etc..
– Development of the experimental setup
– Tests on a group of elderlies
– Data analysis and design of algorithms to estimate relevant features and parameters

Thesis Exergaming for early detection and prevention of dysgraphia in children
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Prof. Alberto Borghese, AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Istituto Neurologico C. Besta, Milano
Description
  • Aim:

Dysgraphia is a problem with the writing process probably caused by a dysfunction within the processing system involved with sequencing. Dysgraphia affects the 11% of students. Although it is characterized by well-defined spatial and dynamic features, there is scarcity of diagnostic tools (BHK scale and Denver test). Dysgraphia is usually diagnosed late, around the 2nd or 3rd year of primary school, and the consequent lack of early intervention may have a severe impact on the life of these children. The aim of this thesis is the development of exergames for children may represent a useful solution to further investigate handwriting features in children with dysgraphia, thus providing a diagnostic tool for early detection and intervention.

  • Project phases:

– Additional literature research on dysgraphia and use of exergames in children
– Design and development of exergames
– Test on healthy children and on some children with dysgraphia
– Data Analysis

Thesis Monitoring of patients with vegetative and minimally conscious state diagnosis
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Istituto Neurologico C. Besta, Milano
Description
  • Aim:

To develop an ICT system combined with cognitive assessment to evaluate patients with disorder of consciousness.

  • Project phases:

The use of motion trackers and synchronized video recording will be explored.  Main peculiarities of the system: the possibility to personalize the placement of the motion trackers (head and limbs) according to the specific posture and condition of each patient; the capability to offer auto-calibration algorithms able to adapt thresholds of movement detection to the specific session.

Thesis EMG-based grasping classifier for the assistance of patients with brachial plexus lesion
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisors Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Marta Gandolla (marta.gandolla@polimi.it)
Collaborations Villa Beretta Rehabilitation Center
 
Description
  • Aim:

To develop a classifier of grasping movements based on MYO armband.

Thesis Reinforcement learning control for functional electrical stimulation of the upper limb
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisors Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Collaborations Marcello Restelli, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory, DEIB, Politecnico di Milano
 
Description
  • Aim:

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) has been strongly used to improve rehabilitative outcomes after stroke. Hybrid assistive devices, which combines FES with exoskeletons, can maximize the effects of each single technology. Traditional controllers for FES are limited by model complexity, non-linear and time-variant dynamics, and inter and intra-subjects variability.

  • Project phases:

Starting from a 1-degree of freedom control system based on RF already developed with good results achieved on single target angles:

– Literature research on control systems for FES
– Learning of RF control paradigm
– Design and implementation of a control system able to track a desired angular trajectory and to include the volitional activity of the subject to minimize the FES support
– Tests on healthy and stroke patients
– Data analysis of the results

Thesis Functional electrical stimulation for grasping
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Thierry Keller, Tecnalia – San Sebastian (Spain) (thierry.keller@tecnalia.com)
Description
  • Aim:

40% percent of people that suffer a stroke present severe impairments on the upper limb, which affects their quality of life as they are not able to carry out activities of daily living (eating, dressing, cleaning,…). FES has shown several benefits in the neurorehabilitation field with both assistive and therapeutic effects. Surface FES parameters need to be adapted (to each person, to each session,…) and it is critical in the case of the hand due to its neuroanatomical complexity. The aim of the current thesis is the design and development of a closed loop system for adapting stimulation parameters to prono-supination movements of the arm for generating different types of grasps

  • Project phases:

Starting from available inertial sensor based hand movement sensor system and multi-field FES system for the forearm muscles (extrinsic hand muscles):

– Literature research on voluntary and FES-assisted hand grasps and closed-loop control techniques
– Design and execution of data acquisition sessions with healthy subjects
– Design and development of a closed-loop system for adapting the stimulation parameters to pronosupination movements of the forearm
– Validation of the approach in lab tests with healthy subjects

Thesis System for electrical perturbation of balance
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Thierry Keller, Tecnalia – San Sebastian (Spain) (thierry.keller@tecnalia.com)
Description
  • Aim:

Frailty is a clinically recognizable state of increased vulnerability resulting from aging associated decline in reserve and function. Among other things, it carries an increased risk of falls. Strength and/or resistance exercises as well as training programs based on balance training and/or instability exercises have shown to improve balance and reduce falling risk in elderly and frail populations. Different types of efferent and afferent electrical stimulation protocols have shown to improve spasticity, muscle strength, function and/or balance in elderly and frail populations. The aim of this thesis is the design and integration of a system for its use in an electrical perturbation-based balance training program for frail people.

  • Project phases:

Starting from available Electrical Stimulation system for the peroneal nerve and the spine extensor/flexor muscles available, pressure platform for base of support measurement and the Equimetrix system for stability index estimation (derived from COM and COP values):

– Literature review on balance training programs for improving balance for frail population
– Definition of requirements and specifications of the system
– Design of a communication protocol for integrating the different elements of the system
– Integration of the system
– Validation of the system in lab tests with healthy subjects

Thesis The current evidence of FES-cycling training on motor recovery after stroke
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Description
  • Aim:

Cycling induced by Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) has been proposed in the last 10 years to improve lower limb rehabilitation after stroke. Few randomized controlled trials (RCT), usually including a low number of subjects, have been performed. A clear evidence about the effects of FES cycling on motor recovery after stroke is still missing. A RCT (ClinicalTrials.gov #NCT02439515 ) on post-acute stroke patients is currently ongoing at the Institute of Lissone, Salvatore Maugeri IRCCS. The aim of this thesis is to summarize the current evidence about the effects of FES-induced cycling training on motor recovery after stroke, both in terms of a systematic review of the literature and in terms of analysis of the results of the ongoing RCT

  • Project phases:

Starting from about 60 out of 70 patients that have been already recruited in the ongoing RCT and the corresponding data analysis:
– Data collection and analysis of the remaining data
– Statistical analysis of the clinical and instrumental outcome measures and sub-groups analysis
– Systematic review about the efficacy of FES cycling after stroke
– Risk of bias assessment and meta-analysis of the included studies
– Discussion of the results

Thesis Effects of lower limb training on motor coordination after stroke
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Muscle synergies during pedaling after stroke
Description
  • Aim:

Motor system seems to rely on a modular organization (muscle synergies activated in time) to execute different biomechanical tasks. Stroke patients exhibit poor inter-muscular coordination (poor timing and merging of modules that are normally independent in healthy subjects) both during locomotion and cycling, which is correlated to the level of the motor impairment. Different rehabilitative programs might have different effects on motor coordination. This study aims at investigating the effects of a lower limb training on modular muscle coordination during cycling in post-acute stroke patients. Specifically, the effects of a cycling training induced by electrical stimulation will be compared with conventional training.

  • Project phases:

Starting point: one article has been recently published in Annals of Biomedical Engineering from our group to better understand the neuro-mechanics of recumbent cycling in stroke patients; normative data on healthy older adults are available.  Next steps:

– Literature research on muscle synergies and motor control
– Data collection on stroke patients
– Data analysis of EMG and force data pre- and post-intervention
– Statistical analysis
– Interpretation and discussions of the results

Thesis Effects of lower limb training on cortical excitability after stroke
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Michael Grey, University of East Anglia
Description
  • Aim:

Neuroplasticity is an important marker for motor recovery during neurorehabilitation. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive method to evaluate corticospinal excitability. A rapid method to acquire stimulus-response curves has been recently proposed and its reliability on healthy subjects has been proved. This study aims at investigating the effects of lower limb training on cortical excitability in stroke patients. The final objective is to  aid our understanding about how we can augment the effect of motor rehabilitation and identify the optimal treatment plans for its effects to persist and translate to improvements in daily life activities.

  • Project phases:

Starting from a rapid method to acquire stimulus-response curve already implemented, available normative data on healthy older adults are available and an open source software for manual TMS coil positioning already developed and validated:

– Literature research on corticospinal excitability in stroke patients
– Data collection and analysis
– Statistical analysis
– Interpretation and discussions of the results

Thesis EMG-based vibro-tactile biofeedback training in children with dystonia
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Prof. T. Sanger, SangerLab, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Dott. G. Zorzi, Istituto Neurologico C. Besta, Milano
Dr. Emilia Biffi, Scientific Institute Eugenio Medea, Bosisio Parini
Description
  • Aim:

Childhood dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary sustained or intermittent muscle contractions. In case of sensory deficits, children with dystonia may not be aware of their altered patterns of muscle activity and, consequently, they are not able to compensate for unwanted activity. Biofeedback techniques, which provide the subject with augmented task-relevant information, might help improve motor control and accelerate motor learning. A cross-over study has been designed in order to evaluate the effects of a wearable EMG-based biofeedback training in improving motor control in children with dystonia. Both children with primary and secondary dystonia have been recruiting in order to test the hypothesis that the failure of motor learning due to sensory deficits is specific for children with secondary dystonia.

  • Project phases:

Starting from an EMG-based vibro-tactile Biofeedback device to create awareness of the activity of individual muscles during motor tasks’ execution, ethical approval for the cross-over study (first patients have already concluded the protocol):

– Literature research on biofeedback training in children with primary and secondary dystonia
– Data collection and analysis
– Statistical analysis
– Interpretation and discussions of the results

Thesis Lower limb rehabilitation in children with neurological disorders: robotics or virtual reality?
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Emilia Biffi (emilia.biffi@bp.lnf.it)
Collaborations Dr. Emilia Biffi, Scientific Institute Eugenio Medea, Bosisio Parini
Description
  • Aim:

The improvement of walking abilities is a major goal in the rehabilitation of children affected by neurological impairments. Robot-aided rehabilitation supports traditional methods with some potential advantages including movement repeatability. New platforms integrating treadmills, motion capture systems and virtual reality (VR) offer a more engaging environment.  The assessment of  the effectiveness of these technologies and the identification of determinants of responsiveness is fundamental to support the choice of the best therapeutic approach

  • Project phases:

Starting from functional and instrumental data measured before and after robot-aided or VR-aided therapy in children with acquired brain injuries:

– Literature research on methods to evaluate the determinants of responsiveness to a treatment
– Development of algorithms to assess gait pattern
– Assessment of the effectiveness of robot-aided and VR-aided treatment
– Identification of determinants of responsiveness

Thesis Longitudinal brain plasticity in post-stroke patients
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Marta Gandolla (marta.gandolla@polimi.it)
Collaborations Dr Nick Ward (UCL Institute of Neurology)
thesis7
Description
  • Aim:

to identify the longitudinal modifications at cortical level (brain correlates and connectivity), and test/search for predictive markers for the success of FES-based drop foot treatment in post-stroke patients.

  • Project phases:

– Brain activity mapping – i.e. description of the longitudinal modification, if any, in brain activation related to the selected motor task (i.e., ankle dorsiflexion)
– Connectivity mapping, supervised approach – i.e. description of the connectivity map and relative longitudinal modification with Dynamic Causal Modeling approach (DCM)
– Connectivity mapping, non-supervised approach – i.e. description of the connectivity map and relative longitudinal modification with graph theory approach

This site uses cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to the site you accept their use. More info in our cookies policy.     ACCEPT