Bodily self-consciousness can be studied experimentally and are based on multisensory and cognitive processing of bodily information. The representation of the body is complex, involving the encoding and integration of a wide range of multisensory (somatosensory, visual, auditory, vestibular, visceral) and motor signals: our brain is very adaptive, and can map artificial tools as an extension of the physical body. During the workshop participants will personally experience embodiment and bodily plasticity phenomena through the Rubber Hand Illusion, a perfect example of multisensory integration (day 1).
In the Rubber Hand Illusion, the sight of brushing of a rubber hand at the same time as brushing of the person’s own hidden hand is sufficient to produce a feeling of ownership of the fake hand (Botvinick and Cohen, 1998). In the second day participants will experience the “sense of agency” or sense of control, that refers to the subjective awareness that one is initiating, executing, and controlling one’s own volitional actions in the world, by using a virtual avatars controlled through wearable sensors (day 2): participants could move virtual avatars either through muscle contractions (EMG-based control approach) or though body movements (M-IMU-based control approach).
Iolanda Pisotta is Psychologist with a PhD in Neuroscience. Since her MSc, her main fields of research activity are the psychological aspects in Human-Machine Interaction, Neuroprostheses for motor rehabilitation and motor substitution in post stroke patients and spinal cord injury people, in the Neurological and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Department and NeuroRobot Lab at Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome. Supported by TOBI, BETTER, MINDWALKER, SYMBITRON (EU funded, 7th Framework Programme) and HANK projects (Horizon 2020), she is currently involved in research activities about usability, acceptability and embodiment in the field of Robotic Neurorehabilitation. She is author of several papers on international scientific journals, book’ chapters and conference’ contributions.
Giovanni Di Pino received the Medical degree and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from the Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy, in 2003 and 2010 respectively. From 2010 to 2015, he had the residency in Neurology, at the Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, where he is currently Assistant Professor of Human Physiology. Since 2016 he is head of the Research Unit of Neurophysiology and Neuroengineering of Human-Technology Interaction at Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy. Di Pino is a neurophysiologist primarily involved in investigating physiological bases of i) neural interfaces to control sensorized cybernetic prostheses and to improve bioelectronic hybridity, with particular attention to related brain plasticity; ii) novel methods for noninvasive neuromodulation in health and disease; iii) the cognitive embodiment of external artifact. He is part of the group that firstly demonstrated the control of several movements of a prosthetic hand with implanted peripheral-nerve multielectrodes and, recently, the possibility to recognize shape and stiffness of different objects from the real-time translation of the output of sensors into intraneural stimulation. He actively contributes to the EU-funded scientific programs Neurobotics, EVRYON, TACT, IM-CLeVeR, CYBERHAND, TIME, to the Eu. Space Agency-funded projects, Machine-Animal Hybrid Controller for space exploration and the Italian MIUR-funded, PRIN\SafeHand, \HandBot, and Ministry of Health-funded FINALIZZATA\Nemesis and FINALIZ\PDMeter (where he is key-person). He is ad hoc reviewer for Horizon2020 FET Open activity and for several scientific international journals and conferences, among the others: Clinical Neurophysiology, Brain Stimulation, Neuroimage, Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, Nature Scientific Report, The Surgeon, Annals of Surgeon, Bentham Sci Pub, JMBE, IEEE Trans. Robotics, IEEE ICRA, IEEE BioRob. He is Associate Editor and Member of the Programme Committee of the IEEE ICORR International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics 2015. He has been speaker to the IEEE International. He is European Research Council Starting Grant 2015 grantee with the project RESHAPE: REstoring the Self with embodiable HAnd ProsthesEs.
Domenico Formica received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from the Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy, in 2002, 2004, and 2008 respectively. From 2008 to 2010, he was Postdoctoral Fellow with the Laboratory of Biomedical Robotics and Biomicrosystems, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, where he is currently Assistant Professor of Bioengineering. Since 2016 he is co-funder and co-director of the Research Unit of Neurophysiology and Neuroengineering of Human-Technology Interaction at Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy. His current research interests lie at the intersection of robotics/mechatronics, neuroscience and developmental psychology. On one hand, he uses robotic and mechatronic technologies to study how the human brain plans, controls and executes movements, as well as how it acquires new motor skills, from the early stage of its development to its mature age. On the other hand, he exploits the knowledge acquired from healthy brain to better assess and intervene on movement-related brain pathologies and neurodevelopmental disorders using robotic and mechanic technologies. His background is in biomedical engineering and robotics, but his experience is highly interdisciplinary and strongly benefited from the opportunity to work in close interaction with neuroscientists, clinical neurophysiologists and developmental psychologists. He actively contributed to several EU-funded projects in both FP6 (Neurobotics, CYBERHAND, TACT) and FP7 (IMCLeVeR). He has been awarded as co-PI of two relevant national grants for young researcher: the “FIRB – Futuro in Ricerca” early career grant for researchers under 32, by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, and the “Ricerca Finalizzata / Giovani ricercatori” early career grant for researchers under 40, by the Italian Ministry of Health. He collaborates as international expert to a research grant funded by the Biomedical Research Council & National Medical Research Council of Singapore. He co-authored 32 peer-reviewed journal papers, 30+ peer-reviewed international conference papers, and 3 book chapters.
Alessia Noccaro received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in biomedical engineering from the Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy, in 2013 and 2016 respectively. She currently is a Ph.D. student with the Research Unit of Neurophysiology and Neuroengineering of Human-Technology Interaction at Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy. Her background is in biomedical engineering and especially in robotics and in human-robot interaction.