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Impact: 'MyLeg', research on lower-limb protheses

Nominee Ben Feringa Impact Award 2024 | Category researcher
13 May 2024
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Raffaella Carloni

In the coming weeks the nominees for the Ben Feringa Impact Award 2024 will introduce themselves and their impactful research or project. This week: Raffaella Carloni , for her research on the development of lower-limb protheses.

Who are you?

My name is Raffaella Carloni. I am an Associate Professor of Robotics in the Department of Artificial Intelligence of the Bernoulli Institute. My research focuses on the methodologies and technologies that enable robotic systems to seamlessly cooperate with humans

For which faculty do you work?

The Faculty of Science and Engineering.

What does your research involve?

I have been the initiator and the scientific coordinator of the Horizon 2020 European project MyLeg (2018-2023). In this collaborative project I led an interdisciplinary team consisting of engineers, rehabilitation physicians, human-movement scientists, and a world leader company in the field of lower-limb prostheses. Within the project, my research was dedicated to advancing the development of above-knee prosthetic legs. The fundamental idea was to use a biomimicry approach and replicate the fundamental functionality of a healthy human leg in both the mechanics and in the control architecure of the new generation of bionic legs.

What is the impact of this research and how could it help society?

The research has the potential of enhancing the mobility of individuals who have undergone transfemoral amputations, thereby leading to improvements in their independence and overall quality of life. While clinical trials are ongoing, qualitative evidence has already showcased the relevance of the new functionalities of the developed bionic leg, and its added comfort during usage. Key to this advancement are its bio-inspired actuators designed to mimic the natural elasticity of the ligaments, enabling users to walk more naturally and to receive full support, even on challenging terrain like uphill slopes. By closely resembling the biomechanics of a healthy human leg, these innovative prosthetic limbs have the potential to empower amputees, offering them greater mobility and confidence in their daily activities. As research progresses on these bionic legs, their societal impact in fostering inclusivity and improving the well-being of amputees is expected to grow significantly.

What was your motivation for the research? What did you learn from it?

As an engineer, I am driven by using my expertise and passion for robotics to make a difference, however small, in people's lives. The enthusiasm and collaborative spirit of the subjects testing the bionic leg during clinical trials was truly inspiring. The users’ insightful feedback deepened our understanding of the complex dynamic interaction between them and the prosthesis in the pursuit of a fully symbiotic movement. Knowing my work could offer someone, especially those facing challenges, help and more independence, is incredibly gratifying.

Visit the overview page for more information on the other five nominees.

Last modified:16 May 2024 4.15 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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