Exoskeletons for Mobility after Spinal Cord Injury: A Personalized Embodied Approach

Giuseppe Forte, Erik Leemhuis, Francesca Favieri, Maria Casagrande, Anna Maria Giannini, Luigi De Gennaro, Mariella Pazzaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endowed with inherent flexibility, wearable robotic technologies are powerful devices that are known to extend bodily functionality to assist people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs). However, rather than considering the specific psychological and other physiological needs of their users, these devices are specifically designed to compensate for motor impairment. This could partially explain why they still cannot be adopted as an everyday solution, as only a small number of patients use lower-limb exoskeletons. It remains uncertain how these devices can be appropriately embedded in mental representations of the body. From this perspective, we aimed to highlight the homeostatic role of autonomic and interoceptive signals and their possible integration in a personalized experience of exoskeleton overground walking. To ensure personalized user-centered robotic technologies, optimal robotic devices should be designed and adjusted according to the patient’s condition. We discuss how embodied approaches could emerge as a means of overcoming the hesitancy toward wearable robots.

Original languageEnglish
Article number380
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Body image
  • Body representation
  • Cardiovascular
  • Embodiment
  • Exoskeleton
  • Interoception
  • Pain
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • TaVNS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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