NEARLab is a collaborative research environment of biomedical, robotics and computer science engineer working to enhance and improve medical imaging procedures, robotic systems, medical robots, and digital health.

Rehabilitation Engineering and Robotics


IMITAR: Innovative Methodologies for Imitation Therapy of ASD children using Robots

IMITAR is trying to fill the gap between the research and clinical practice in robotic therapies for Children with Autism. IMITAR proposes new flexible robotic control systems and new evaluation metrics to support ASD children therapies, through a strong collaboration with several clinical institutions.

People involved: Laura Santos, Gabriele Fassina, Alice Geminiani, Emilia Ambrosini, Alessandra Pedrocchi
Funding source: 
Funding period: 
Partners: Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Institute for Systems and Robotics (ISR-Lisboa)- Instituto Superior Técnico, CADIn, APPDA


FESleg: Functional Electrical Stimulation for the treatment of Spinal Cord Injured people

FESleg is a national program carried out in collaboration with INAIL – Centro Protesi which exploits the use of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for the treatment of Spinal Cord Injured people. The project aimed at designing and testing a FES-gait prototype which combines an active exoskeleton (TWIN, IIT-INAIL) and FES using a cooperative control strategy to support locomotion; and a FES-bike prototype combining a passive trike and FES to promote a model of Sport-therapy towards the participation to Cybathlon 2024.

People involved:Francesca Dell’Eva, Federica Ferrari, Nicole Sanna, Marta Gandolla, Emilia Ambrosini, Alessandra Pedrocchi
Funding source: INAIL-Centro Protesi (PR19-RR-P5)
Funding period: Nov 2020 – Oct 2023
Partners: Villa Beretta Rehabilitation Center (Lecco); Scientific Institute E. Medea IRCSS (Lecco); National Research Council (Institute of Biomedical Technologies, Milano)


Cybathlon Participant

Cybathlon is an international competition comprising eight different disciplines in which people with disabilities deal with various everyday tasks with the latest generation of assistive technologies.. The team of Politecnico competes in the FES-bike discipline (Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike) in which a pilot with complete paraplegia pedals autonomously through the use of surface neuromuscular electrical stimulation. The participating teams are required to optimise the mechanics of the trike, install sensors, define and optimise the pacing strategy, transfer the control system to an embedded system and develop the user interface and diagnostics software.

In 2019, a group of researchers and students began designing the first prototype of the FES bike. Since then, the POLIMI FES-Bike Team has expanded and continued to work on improving the device and its performance, working closely with the pilots. To be updated on all the news, follow the Instagram page ( 

People involved: Emilia Ambrosini, Alessandra Pedrocchi, Simona Ferrante, Davide Savona, Tommaso Del Grossi

Funding source: INAIL-Centro Protesi (PR19-RR-P5), Fondazione Cariplo, Lombardy Region

Collaborators: Marco Tarabini, Nicole Sanna (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano)



Regular physical activity helps prevent many diseases and contributes to psychological well-being by reducing feelings of loneliness, improving a person’s quality of life. Despite this, the population is becoming less and less active with negative impacts on the health of the individual, health systems, the community and the quality of life of an increasing number of people.
The project aims to address the determinants of lack of activity and/or inclusion, where the technological element becomes an enabling factor for overcoming barriers to inclusive motor practice and active living for all. Our specific role will be focused on the development of a hybrid trike which combines Functional Electrical Stimulation, motor assistance and voluntary contribution as a platform for Sport-therapy of fragile people and/or chronic patients.

People involved:Francesca Davide Savona, Marta Gandolla, Emilia Ambrosini, Alessandra Pedrocchi
Funding source: Fondazione Cariplo and Lombardy Region
Funding period: 2023 – 2025
Partners: Univerlecco, Villa Beretta Rehabilitation Center; Scientific Institute E. Medea IRCSS; National Research Council; Agenzia di Tutela della Salute ATS Brianza; Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale ASST Lecco.


FEATHER: Flexible Exoskeleton for Assistance and home-based motor THERapy.

In the continuum of care for motor disability, alternatives to stiff exoskeletons are exosuits. Exosuits are soft wearable robots that support movement without constraining the natural kinematics of the wearer, thanks to the lack of rigid links and joints. These characteristics make exosuits more suitable for daily contexts and domestic environments. The project aims to design and develop a two-degrees-of-freedom upper limb exosuit to assist the user with activities of daily living and promote home-based therapy. FEATHER will be cable-driven and support the arm of the user against gravity. It will exploit a set of inertial measurement units to compute the torque needed to compensate for the weight of the arm and provide bio-feedback to the user and the clinician to encourage the use and monitor the therapy progression. The project will also explore the possibility to integrate functional electrical stimulation (FES) to boost the rehabilitative potential of the device. 

People involved: Elena Bardi, Emilia Ambrosini, Marta Gandolla, Francesco Braghin, Alessandra Pedrocchi.
Funding source: 
Funding period: 
Partners: ETH


AGREE: : Arm exoskeleton and Grip assistance for REhabilitation and indipEndent living

The AGREE project is an innovative project issued by ARCA on behalf of the Lombardy Region under the pre-commercial procurement (PCP) scheme. The project started with the development of a device for the rehabilitation and daily assistance of upper limb movement to enable people with motor disabilities to carry out activities of daily living.  AGREE is an exoskeleton, a robotic system that supports and moves the upper limb in the execution of various motor tasks with various possible levels of human-robot interaction, providing a solution for a “continuum of care” rehabilitation concept. The design and development phase was carried out with the collaboration of three departments of Politecnico di Milano and a team of healthcare companies. After the creation and laboratory testing of the exoskeleton, AGREE was the main character of a clinical trial lasting almost a year at the Milan hospital Casa di Cura Privata del Policlinico S.p.A. It was tested with 16 patients and 4 therapists, and helped us gain an insight of utility and usability of exoskeletal systems for rehabilitation. AGREE has now returned to our lab and is currently involved in tests for the integration of its activity with Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). It is also our main test bench for AI  experiments that study the behaviour of therapists and aim at making the robot learn their movements and interactions

People involved: Valeria Longatelli, Beatrice Luciani, Marta Gandolla, Francesco Braghin, Alessandra Pedrocchi.
Funding source: Regione Lombardia
Funding period: 30/01/2018 – 31/07/2019
Partners: Ab.Acus, SAPRA Elettronica, STAM and EMAC


The aim of the RETRAINER is to tune and validate advanced, robot-based technologies to facilitate recovery of arm and hand function in stroke survivors and to verify extensively the use of the system by end-users.

RETRAINER allows the users to use their own arm and hand as much and as soon as possible after the trauma so to achieve the best outcomes in rehabilitation.
A continuous iterative process between the technology development and the testing feedback drives the whole project. RETRAINER implements a full technology transfer from the results of a previous FP7 project, MUNDUS, aimed at setting up a similar assistive device for severely disabled people in daily life activities

People involved: Simona Ferrante, Alessandra Pedrocchi, Emilia Ambrosini.
Funding source: H2020-ICT-23- 2014
Funding period: 2015 – 2018
Partners: Ab.Acus, Technische Universität Wien, Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne, Otto Bock Healthcare Products Gmbh, Congregazione Delle Suore Infermiere Dell Addolorata, Asklepios Klinik Alsbach Gmbh, Technische Universität Berlin, Hasomed Hard-Und Software Fuer Medizin Gesellschaft Mbh


USEFUL: User-centred assistive SystEm for arm Functions in  neUromuscuLar subjects.

During the USEFUL project two commercial exoskeletons for gravity compensation (ARMON AYURA and JEACO WREX) will be tested for 2 weeks at home on 38 people affected by muscular dystrophy in a crossover design study. PUL (primary outcome), TAM, SUS scales will be used to assess whether the system is usable, acceptable and efficient. We expect that the results of the clinical study will provide important inputs to users and essential guidelines to health providers’ for the Health Technology Assessment.

People involved: Alessandra Pedrocchi, Marta Gandolla.
Funding source: Fondazione Telethon
Funding period: 2016 – 2018
Partners: CNR-ITIA; IRCCS E. MEDEA; Valduce Hospital “Villa Beretta”


BRIDGE: Beahavioural Reaching Interfaces during Daily antiGravity Activities through upper limb Exoskeleton.

People involved: Alessandra Pedrocchi, Simona Ferrante, Marta Gandolla.
Funding source: Fondazione Cariplo, Grant n° 2015-1860
Funding period: Feb 2016 – Feb 2018
Partners: CNR-ITIA, UILDM, IRCCS E. Medea, Valduce Hospital “Villa Beretta”

The BRIDGE project aims at expanding the functionalities of a pre-existing powered arm exoskeleton, providing it with additional features specifically aimed at supporting people suffering from neuromuscular evolutive diseases in performing (a subset of) Activities of Daily Living, enhancing their living standards by helping them accomplish everyday tasks and, possibly, autonomous activities. The user will be able to directly control the exoskeleton alternatively using manual, gaze or voice control. This multi-modal approach will allow each user to select the most suitable way depending on his/her residual capabilities. These new functionalities will be designed and developed in a continuous iterative process between users’ requirements and technological developments. The final improved prototype will be evaluated in real usability tests

Digital Health

e-School 2.0

e-School 2.0 is a digital school eco-system for the early detection and training of learning difficulties in the writing domain.

People involved: Simona Ferrante, Linda Greta Dui, Chiara Piazzalunga, Simone Toffoli, Alice Donati
Funding source: Italian Ministry of University and Research – PRIN (Progetto di Ricerca di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale)
Funding period: October 2023 – October 2025
Partners: University of Insubria (Varese)

The ultimate objective of this project is the creation of a technology-based ecosystem, e-School 2.0, for the management of writing weaknesses in the pre-clinical stage.


I3LUNG is a European project funded under the framework of the H2020 call “Ensuring access to innovative, sustainable and high-quality health care”.

People involved: Arsela Prelaj, Vanja Miskovic, Emilia Ambrosini, Simona Ferrante, Alessandra Pedrocchi
Funding source: H2020
Funding period: June 2022 – May 2027
Partners: The National Cancer Institute of Milan (INT), MEDSIR, Lung Cancer Europe (LuCE), The Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), The LungenClinic Grosshansdorf, Metropolitan Hospital, The University of Chicago Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, The Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, ML cube, UKE, Aalborg University (AAU), The IEO (European Institute of Oncology), The Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP) KU Leuven, The Swedish Institute for Health Economics (IHE)

Our consortium gathers 16 partners with different expertise located worldwide, with the common goal of providing better assistance and individualize treatment for patients affected by metastatic lung cancer.

Past Projects


ESSENCE will boost the creation of a new model of home-based care that relies on stimulation, remote monitoring, tele-assistance, and connection between users, families, and professionals

People involved: Simona Ferrante, Alessandra Pedrocchi, Emilia Ambrosini, Francesca Lunardini, Milad Malavolti, Linda G. Dui, Davide Di Febbo, Matteo Matteucci.
Funding source: H2020-SC1-PHE-CORONAVIRUS-2020-2bGA 101016112
Funding period: Nov 2020 – Oct 2022
Partners: Università degli Studi di Milano, Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Fundación para la Formación e Investigación de los Profesionales de la Salud de Extremadura, University of Haifa, SxT srl – Sistemi per Telemedicina, Smart Com Doo Informacijski in Komunikacijski Sistemi, Signalgenerix Limited, E-Seniors: Initiation des Seniors aux NTIC Association.

ESSENCE aims at transforming the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 in a huge opportunity that exploits technology toward a deep evolution of the services targeting vulnerable populations such as non- or pre-frail seniors, and children of the first years of primary school.


Patients who have suffered severe brain injuries can show a progressive recovery, transitioning through a range of clinical conditions. They may progress from coma to a vegetative state (VS) and/or a minimally conscious state (MCS). The STRIVE project is aimed at investigating the efficacy and the compliance of personalized interventions for sleep pathologies in patients with disorder of consciousness (DOC). The project develops and field-tests a novel ecosystem integrating wearable sensors, professional and caregiver evaluations, specifically tailored for the longitudinal assessment of the motor behavioral profile of DOC patients.

People involved: Simona Ferrante, Francesca Lunardini, Milad Malavolti
Funding source: Ministero della Salute
Funding period: 2018 – 2020
Partners: Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Fondazione IRCCS San Raffaele


MoveCare develops and field tests an innovative multi-actor platform that supports the independent living of the elder at home by monitoring, assist and promoting activities to counteract decline and social exclusion. It comprises 3 hierarchical layers: 1) A service layer provides monitoring and intervention. 2) A context-aware Virtual Caregiver, embodied into a service robot, is the core layer. 3) The users’ community strongly promotes socialization acting as a bridge towards the elders’ ecosystem: other elders, clinicians, caregivers and family. Gamification glues together monitoring, lifestyle, activities and assistance inside a motivating and rewarding experience.

People involved: Simona Ferrante, Alessandra Pedrocchi, Giancarlo Ferrigno, Emilia Ambrosini, Francesca Lunardini
Funding source: H2020-ICT-26-2016, Grant n°: ICT-26-2016b System abilities, development and pilot installations – 732158
Funding period: 2017 – 2019
Partners: Universita Degli Studi Di Milano, Ab.Acus, Fondazione Irccs Ca’ Granda – Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Fundacio Eurecat, Joicecare Ab, Signalgenerix Ltd, Smart Com Doo Informacijski In Komunikacijski Sistemi, Consejeria De Sanidad Y Politicas Sociales – Junta De Extremadura, Orebro University, University Of Plymouth, Universidad De Malaga, The Chancellor, Masters And Scholars Of The University Of Oxford, Korian.

Computational Neuroscience


CerebNEST is trying to shed light to the cerebellar circuit and its properties by means of large-scale spiking neural network models.

The cerebellar network models can be simulated alone or integrated with robots.
The developed neural models aim at reproducing realistic neural dynamics, while being computationally efficient to drive closed-loop simulations.

People involved: Alessandra Pedrocchi, Alberto Antonietti, Alice Geminiani, Alessandra Trapani
Funding source: MIUR
Funding period: 2017 – 2018
Partners: Università di Pavia, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne


RisingNet will work on Whole-bRaIn rodent SpikING neural NETworks

The constructive principle is to develop a “scaffold” brain model incorporating modules of different microcircuit (cerebral cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus and basal ganglia) along with intercalated nuclei (thalamus, pontine nuclei and the inferior olive) wired through the connectome derived from the Mouse Allen Brain Atlas. The microcircuits will be made of point neurons endowed with realistic dynamic properties and will maintain the salient firing dynamics and synaptic integration properties of the realistic models from which they will derive.

People involved: Alessandra Pedrocchi, Alessandra Trapani, Francesco Sheiban, Benedetta Gambosi
Funding source:
Funding period: –
Partners: Università di Pavia

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NEARLab is located inside the Leonardo Robotics Labs space at Politecnico di Milano, piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, Building 7, 20133, Milano, Italy
and at Campus Colombo in Via Giuseppe Colombo, 40, 20133 Milano MI


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Website Maintainers
Alberto Rota, Mattia Magro, Alessandra Maria Trapani


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