MUNDUS was a small or medium scale focused research project (STREP) funded by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Program. It was composed of 8 partners across Europe and was coordinated by Politecnico di Milano (Italy). FP7 ICT-4-7.2 - Accessible and Assistive ICT.
MUNDUS is an assistive framework for recovering direct interaction capability of severely motor impaired people based on arm reaching and hand function. Most of the solutions provided by Assistive Technology for supporting independent life of severely impaired people completely substitute the natural interaction with world, reducing their acceptance. Human dignity and self-esteem are more preserved when restoring missing functions with devices safeguarding self perception and first hand interaction while guaranteeing independent living.
MUNDUS uses any residual control of the end-user, thus it is suitable for long term utilization in daily activities. Sensors, actuators and control solutions adapt to the level of severity or progression of the disease allowing the disabled person to interact voluntarily with naturality and at maximum information rate.
MUNDUS targets were the neurodegenerative and genetic neuromuscular diseases and high level Spinal Cord Injury.
MUNDUS is an adaptable and modular facilitator, which follows its user along the progression of the disease, sparing training time and allowing fast adjustment to new situations. MUNDUS controller integrates multimodal information collected by electromyography, bioimpedance, head/eye tracking and eventually brain computer interface commands. MUNDUS actuators modularly combine a lightweight and non-cumbersome exoskeleton, compensating for arm weight, a biomimetic wearable neuroprosthesis for arm motion and, small and lightweight mechanisms, to assist the grasp of collaborative functional objects identified by RF signals. The lightness and non cumbersomeness are crucial to applicability in home/work environment.
Specific scenarios in home and work environment have been used to assess, subjectively and quantitatively, the usability of the system by real end-users in the living laboratory facility.
MUNDUS developed a composite system able to support task performing driven by a voluntary input, according to controlling solutions tailored to the specific capabilities of the single user.
In this frame 7 specific objectives have been identified:
Integrate sensors, actuators and NP to restore and/or augment capabilities of disabled people.
Exploit ICT methods for developing a new generation of arm NP.
Advance current BCI systems by extracting linear control information evolving with the pathology and including NMES for BCI training.
Develop light, passive arm exoskeleton for gravity compensation.
Advance current AT devices by adding environment based hand assistance.
Advance in multimodal, adaptive control and self learning approach.
Evaluate acceptability by end-users in home and work scenarios.
The consortium was composed by four national clusters: one from Italy, one from Switzerland, one
from Austria and one from Germany. The Italian cluster is composed by research groups,
industries and clinical entities.
POLIMI was the academic partner, expert in neuroprostetics, while VALDUCE was involved, as clinical testbed, in the clinical evaluation of the system. ABACUS a SME with wide expertise in rehabilitation engineering and assistive applications was in charge of the daily life objects adapatation to be exploited by the system. CF Consulting was expert in the management and dissemination.
HOCOMA, from Switzerland, represented the rehabilitation industry, their core business was on innovative robotic technologies for rehabilitation. HOCOMA was committed to the exploitation of the system as a whole.
HOCOMA was sided by ETHZ, and later on, EPFL, research groups with a strong background on the design of biorobotic devices and neuroprostetics.
TUW had a relevant biomechanical background.
In TUB, two main expertise were exploited: BCI design and Adaptive learning control for NP.
FRAUNHOFER was involved in the evaluation phase.