Enrollment year
Academic year
Academic discipline
Sensoristica e strumentazione biomedica
Year of study
2nd semester (07/03/2022 - 17/06/2022)
Lesson hours
68 lesson hours
Activity type
RAMAT STEFANO (titolare) - 4 ECTS
Understanding of the course topics requires knowledge of basic concepts of human physiology and of some trasducers that are just partially recalled during the course.
Learning outcomes
The aim of the course is to provide the student with basic knowledge regarding: 1. Anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system with particular attention to sensory and motor functions. 2. Motor control from a computational point of view. 3. the quantitative evaluation of movement and posture; 4. the instrumentation commonly used in the functional evaluation of movement and sensorimotor rehabilitation; 5. the criteria for the design, customization and choice of a limb prosthesis.
At the end of the course, the student will be able to define and validate a rehabilitation protocol that involves the use of new technologies or recent data analysis techniques. He will also have acquired the elements to be able to face the problems concerning the selection and customization of prostheses.
Course contents
Nervous system and movement control. The neuron, the glial cells. Neurons, types. Membrane potential. Anatomical CNS structures. Sensorimotor organization. Areas of the cortex. Localization, Broca and Wernike. The mirror neuron system.
Sensorimotor system. The somatosensory system, receptors, afferent nerve pathway. Information coding. Perception. Sensation-perception-action cycle. Measurement of sensation, psychophysics. Vision, somatosensory system. Receptive fields and retransmission nuclei, interneurons. Sensory cortex and somatotopic map.
MOTOR. Motor homunculus, medial and lateral motor system. Corticospinal tract, efferent pathways. Spinal segment. Reflex movement. Direct myotatic reflex, closed loop control system. Mutual innervation, antagonist inhibition. Gamma motor neurons and intrafusal fibers. Golgi tendon organs and r. inverse myotatic. Muscle and muscle contraction.
Motor control. Theories and computational approach. Computational research lines. The choice of movement, gratification and the dopaminergic system. Role of the hippocampus and basal ganglia, caudate.
Voluntary movements. Invariants. Morasso, main sequence, cost functionals. Biological noise in motor command, computational scheme of reaching movement.
Inverse kinematics. Reverse dynamics. Impedance control. Stiffness and role in controlling balance. Use of internal models. Feedforward control and inverse model, feedback control and state observer. The cancellation of sensory reafferences, slow pursuit.
Balance control. Voluntary movement and anticipatory postural adjustments. Whole body reaching experiment. Perturbations and postural reactions.
Eye movements. Vestibulo-oculomotor reflex. Models of the controlled system, models of semicircular canals. Need for a reverse internal model. Experimental data on VOR in the dark. The dynamics of perception. The extension of the time constant of the VOR. Plasticity and adaptation of the VOR, the cerebellum. Hidden states in motor adaptation.
Introduction to the course: rehabilitation technologies and their impact on health and society.
Motor functional evaluation: qualitative and quantitative functional evaluation scales.
Wearable instruments for quantitative motor functional evaluation.
Systems for kinematic movement analysis (stereo-photogrammetric system).
Systems for kinetic movement analysis (force platform, sensorized carpet) .
Gait analysis: data acquisition and processing for quantitative evaluations.
Quite and dynamic posture: postural control-models, data acquisition and processing for posturographic evaluations.
Surface electromyography signals: neurophysiological bases, acquisition and signals processing.
Laboratory for movement and posture analysis: integrated system for motion analysis (stereo-photogrammetric system, inertial systems, EMG, force platforms).
How to define and validate a rehabilitation protocol.

Upper and lower limb prostheses: classification and components.
Teaching methods
Lectures (hours/year in lecture theatre: 68) carried out by means of presentations (PowerPoint) projected on screen and insights using the chalkboard. During classes some devices or prosthesis components are shown.
Reccomended or required readings
Course slides.
• Cappello, A. Cappozzo, P.E. di Prampero (Eds), Bioingegneria della Postura e del Movimento, Patron Editore, Bologna, 2003.
• D. Popovic, T. Sinkjaer, Control of Movement for the Physically Disabled, Springer-Verlag, London, 2000.
• J.M. Winters, P.E. Cargo (Eds), Biomechanics and Neural Control of Posture and Movement, Springer-Verlag, New York, 2000.
• R. Seymour, Prosthetics and Orthotics Lower Limb and Spinal, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimora, 2002.
Computational principles of movement neuroscience Daniel M. Wolpert and Zoubin Ghahramani, NNS, 2000
Fisiologia. Molecole, Cellule e Sistemi. Egidio D’Angelo e Antonio Peres, 2006
Lezioni del corso Computational Motor Control Reza Shadmehr, 2011
Assessment methods
Oral exam in which the student must demonstrate not only that he has a good knowledge of the problem but he is also able to propose possible technical solutions. Each answer must be articulated and well argued. The student have to demonstrate that he is able to produce logical connections and critical analysis.
Further information
Sustainable development goals - Agenda 2030