Robotic devices for clinical rehabilitation of patients with neurological impairments come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and employ different kinds of actuators. The design process for rehabilitation robots is driven by the intention that the technical system will be paired with a human being; it is of paramount importance that safety and flexibility of operation are ensured. When designing a robotic device for people with paretic limbs it is usually desirable to specify the actuators and controllers in such a way that a degree of compliance and yielding is retained, rather than forcing the limbs to rigidly follow a pre-programmed trajectory. This reduces the likelihood of injury which might result from forcing a stiff joint to move in a non-physiological manner, and it allows the patient to positively interact with the system and actively guide the therapy. It is not uncommon to come across the viewpoint that electric actuators are not well suited to applications having compliant design requirements: in traditional control engineering, DC motors are programmed to provide accurate and fast setpoint tracking; it is often thought that they are not ideally suited for clinical rehabilitation tasks where "soft" behavioural characteristics are called for.
According to a recent report by Credence Research, the global medical robotics market was valued at $7.24 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2023. A key driver for this growth is demand for using robots in minimally invasive surgeries, especially for neurologic, orthopedic, and laparoscopic procedures. As a result, a wide range of robots is being developed to serve in a variety of roles within the medical environment. Robots specializing in human treatment include surgical robots and rehabilitation robots. The field of assistive and therapeutic robotic devices is also expanding rapidly.
MEMORI-net involves medical doctors, specialized personnel experts in the field of the rehabilitation and scientists that are in close contact with the clinical needs of stroke patients. Moreover, the results the project are directed to the authorities of the health agencies of the transborder region to activate new policies for the integrated motor and cognitive rehabilitation. On Friday 26th October 2018, at Bibione Thermae, the MEMORI-net consortium organized a medical professionals' event focused on the new rehabilitation perspectives in the context of the cerebral stroke.