[Elenco soci]

Pubblicazioni scientifiche

[1] Guariento L., Buonamici F., Marzola A., Scorianz M., Volpe Y., Design Automation of Lattice-based Customized Orthopedic for Load-bearing Implants, Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 20(1), 158-173, (2023). Abstract

Abstract: This work aims at the development of a streamlined and robust CAD procedure to design load-bearing implants. The methodology used to reach this result is explained in the paper: 3D digital anatomy reconstruction of defective structures of the patient is performed with the help of a statistical shape model; subsequently, a CAD modelling tool based on implicit modelling (i.e., nTopology) is used to implement a repeatable semi-automatic procedure that can be performed by a competent user with little effort and limited manual operations. Once that the main shape of the implant is defined, lattice geometries are generated to improve mechanical properties of the implant. The procedure requires as inputs the reconstructed anatomy of the patient and a series of clinical indications on the type of implant that needs to be designed. The paper discusses the development of the whole procedure; achieved results, which include the application of the whole framework on multiple case studies, are presented. The procedure allows the design of a whole implant in 20 minutes circa.

Keywords: CAD Design Automation | Custom Implant; Additive Manufacturing | Implicit Modelling | nTopology

[2] Magherini R., Mussi E., Volpe Y., Furferi R., Buonamici F., Servi M., Machine Learning for Renal Pathologies: An Updated Survey, Sensors, 22(13), (2022). Abstract

Abstract: Within the literature concerning modern machine learning techniques applied to the medical field, there is a growing interest in the application of these technologies to the nephrological area, espe-cially regarding the study of renal pathologies, because they are very common and widespread in our society, afflicting a high percentage of the population and leading to various complications, up to death in some cases. For these reasons, the authors have considered it appropriate to collect, using one of the major bibliographic databases available, and analyze the studies carried out until February 2022 on the use of machine learning techniques in the nephrological field, grouping them according to the addressed pathologies: renal masses, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, kidney stone, glomerular disease, kidney transplant, and others less widespread. Of a total of 224 studies, 59 were analyzed according to inclusion and exclusion criteria in this review, considering the method used and the type of data availa-ble. Based on the study conducted, it is possible to see a growing trend and interest in the use of machine learning applications in nephrology, becoming an additional tool for physicians, which can enable them to make more accurate and faster diagnoses, although there remains a major limitation given the diffi-culty in creating public databases that can be used by the scientific community to corroborate and even-tually make a positive contribution in this area.

Keywords: artificial intelligence | deep learning | machine learning | renal pathology

[3] Guariento L., Buonamici F., Marzola A., Furferi R., Volpe Y., A Semi-Automatic CAD Procedure to Design Custom-made Surgical Cutting Guides, Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 19(4), 733-740, (2022). Abstract

Abstract: The present paper presents the development of a novel procedure for the modeling of Surgical Cutting Guides (SCGs) exploiting an implicit modeling approach. As discussed in the text, this approach allows for a streamlined and efficient design of this type of medical device. A procedural approach based on the application of a series of a priori-known implicit modeling function allows the generation of personalized surgical guides starting from the i) patient’s anatomy and ii) clinical decisions made by the medical staff. The CAD procedure is detailed in the text; achieved results are discussed and compared with a traditional CAD modeling approach on three case studies.

Keywords: CAD | Implicit Modelling | Patient-Specific Instrument | Personalized Medical Device

[4] Marzola A., Buonamici F., Guariento L., Governi L., Enhanced Statistical Shape Model: A Statistical-Based Tool to design Custom Orthopaedic Devices, Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering, 27-38, (2022). Abstract

Abstract: Dealing with the design of personalized medical devices, mass production is not an option that can be hypothesized. Indeed, a cumbersome production process must be considered in such cases, mainly to account for a delicate design phase that needs to take into consideration, as input, an anatomy that vary each time. This article discusses the development of a statistical tool able to support the design of patient-specific devices. By expanding the classical formulation of the Statistical Shape Model (SSM) with the introduction of multiple levels of information within the same model, the authors have experimented with the concept of an “enhanced SSM”. While the traditional SSM only provides information on the variations that a class of shapes can manifest, the eSSM may include more levels of information. The article discusses two possible mathematical formulations of such statistical tool. Its application to the design of custom-made pelvic implants is discussed. Such application scenario is described starting from the generation of the eSSM for the pelvis. The features of interest considered in this paper are the centers of the acetabular regions of the pelvis, the segmentation of the anatomy in a series of semantical regions that must be considered when developing a load-bearing implant. Finally, the conclusions of this research are drawn and discussed together with possible future development of eSSMs.

Keywords: Biomedical engineering | Custom implant design | Human modelling | Pelvis | SSM | Statistical shape analysis

[5] Magherini R., Servi M., Mussi E., Furferi R., Buonamici F., Volpe Y., CNN Approach for Monocular Depth Estimation: Ear Case Study, Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering, 220-228, (2022). Abstract

Abstract: The realization of medical devices to assist the surgeon in autologous auricular reconstruction (personalized surgical guides) requires the use of depth maps images obtained from 3D scans of the patient's profile. In order to make the process of ear geometry acquisition and depth map realization faster, more comfortable for the patient and easily accessible by hospital staff, this work proposes a system able to create depth maps from a single RGB image. The proposed approach involves the integration of tools based on convolutional neural networks to build a modular system capable of isolating the ear from the profile, creating the corresponding depth map, and refining it to correct inaccuracies. The system was trained and tested using a database of human profile images and corresponding depth maps made available by the University of Notre Dame. To evaluate the result in this preliminary study, standard metrics such as mean square error and structural similarity were used, yielding results suitable for the targeted application.

Keywords: 3D vision | CNN | Depth map estimation | Ear reconstruction

[6] Buonamici F., Mussi E., Santarelli C., Carrabba N., Stefano P., Marchionni N., Carfagni M., Modelling and fabrication procedure for a 3D printed cardiac model - surgical planning of Left Ventricular Aneurysm, MethodsX, 9, (2022). Abstract

Abstract: The present paper describes a procedure for the development and production of a physical model for surgical planning of a Left Ventricular Aneurysm. The method is based on the general approach provided in Otton et al. (2017) and was customized to seek a reliable and fast procedure for the production of a specific type of cardiac model – i.e. chambers of the left side of the heart. The paper covers all the steps: processing of the data, segmentation, modelling and 3D printing; details are provided for all the phases, in order to allow the reproduction of the achieved results. The procedure relies on Computed Tomography - CT imaging as data source for the identification and modelling of the anatomy. Materialise Mimics was used as segmentation software to process the CT data. While its usefulness for the surgical needs was verified on a single clinical case (provided by the Careggi Hospital of Florence, Italy), the modelling procedure was tested twice, to produce a physical replica both ex-ante and ex-post surgical intervention. • The tools used for segmentation and generation of the printable model were customized to reduce modelling time for the specific type of desired model. • Detailed information on the use of modeling tools, not available in the literature, will be provided. • The procedure allows fabrication of a physical model representing the heart chambers in a short time.

Keywords: 3D printing | Left Ventricular Aneurysm | Method for the production of an anatomical replica of a human heart for surgical planning | Surgical planning

[7] Carrabba N., Buonamici F., Furferi R., Carfagni M., Vannini M., Valenti R., Cerillo, A. G., Marchionni N., Stefàno, P., Case Report: Three-Dimensional Printing Model for Surgical Planning of Left Ventricular Aneurysm: Evolution Toward Tailoring Surgery, Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, 9, (2022). Abstract

Abstract: A 59-year-old woman was admitted to the emergency department for heart failure (HF), New York Heart Association (NYHA) IV, showing an anterior, evolved myocardial infarction (MI) with a wide apical left ventricular aneurysm (LVA), ejection fraction (EF) 24%, and global longitudinal strain (GLS) −5. 5% by echo. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirmed an apical LVA without thrombus, EF 20%, and a transmural delayed enhancement in the myocardium wall. Coronarography showed a three-vessel disease with occluded proximal left anterior descending (LAD) and proximal right coronary artery (RCA). Based on the cardiac CT scan, we decided to generate a three-dimensional (3D) print model of the heart, for better prediction of residual LV volumes. After LVA surgery plus complete functional revascularization, an optimal agreement was found between predicted and surgical residual LV end-diastolic (24.7 vs. 31.8 ml/m2) and end-systolic (54.1 vs. 69.4 ml/m2) volumes, with an improvement of NYHA class, from IV to I. The patient was discharged uneventfully and at 6- and 12-month follow-up, the NYHA class, and LV volumes were found unchanged. This is a second report describing the use of the 3D print model for the preoperative planning of surgical management of LVA; the first report was described by Jacobs et al. among three patients, one with a malignant tumor and the remaining two patients with LVA. This article focused on the use of the 3D print model to optimize surgical planning and individualize treatment of LVA associated with complete functional revascularization, leading to complete recovery of LV function with a favorable outcome.

Keywords: 3D printing model | CAD | heart failure | left ventricular aneurysm | surgical ventricular restoration

[8] Servi M., Mussi E., Profili A., Furferi R., Volpe Y., Governi L., Buonamici F., Metrological characterization and comparison of D415, D455, L515 realsense devices in the close range, Sensors, 21(22), (2021). Abstract

Abstract: RGB-D cameras are employed in several research fields and application scenarios. Choosing the most appropriate sensor has been made more difficult by the increasing offer of available products. Due to the novelty of RGB-D technologies, there was a lack of tools to measure and compare performances of this type of sensor from a metrological perspective. The recent ISO 10360-13:2021 represents the most advanced international standard regulating metrological characterization of coordinate measuring systems. Part 13, specifically, considers 3D optical sensors. This paper applies the methodology of ISO 10360-13 for the characterization and comparison of three RGB-D cameras produced by Intel® RealSense™ (D415, D455, L515) in the close range (100–1500 mm). ISO 10360-13 procedures, which focus on metrological performances, are integrated with additional tests to evaluate systematic errors (acquisition of flat objects, 3D reconstruction of objects). The present paper proposes an off-the-shelf comparison which considers the performance of the sensors throughout their acquisition volume. Results have exposed the strengths and weaknesses of each device. The D415 device showed better reconstruction quality on tests strictly related to the short range. The L515 device performed better on systematic depth errors; finally, the D455 device achieved better results on tests related to the standard.

Keywords: Active stereo | Depth camera | Device characterization | ISO 10360-13 | LiDAR | Performance comparison | RealSense D415 | RealSense D455 | RealSense L515 | Reverse engineering

[9] Secciani N., Brogi C., Pagliai M., Buonamici F., Gerli F., Vannetti F., Bianchini M., Volpe Y., Ridolfi A., Wearable Robots: An Original Mechatronic Design of a Hand Exoskeleton for Assistive and Rehabilitative Purposes, Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 15, (2021). Abstract

Abstract: Robotic devices are being employed in more and more sectors to enhance, streamline, and augment the outcomes of a wide variety of human activities. Wearable robots arise indeed as of-vital-importance tools for telerehabilitation or home assistance targeting people affected by motor disabilities. In particular, the field of “Robotics for Medicine and Healthcare” is attracting growing interest. The development of such devices is a primarily addressed topic since the increasing number of people in need of rehabilitation or assistive therapies (due to population aging) growingly weighs on the healthcare systems of the nation. Besides, the necessity to move to clinics represents an additional logistic burden for patients and their families. Among the various body parts, the hand is specially investigated since it most ensures the independence of an individual, and thus, the restoration of its dexterity is considered a high priority. In this study, the authors present the development of a fully wearable, portable, and tailor-made hand exoskeleton designed for both home assistance and telerehabilitation. Its purpose is either to assist patients during activities of daily living by running a real-time intention detection algorithm or to be used for remotely supervised or unsupervised rehabilitation sessions by performing exercises preset by therapists. Throughout the mechatronic design process, special attention has been paid to the complete wearability and comfort of the system to produce a user-friendly device capable of assisting people in their daily life or enabling recorded home rehabilitation sessions allowing the therapist to monitor the state evolution of the patient. Such a hand exoskeleton system has been designed, manufactured, and preliminarily tested on a subject affected by spinal muscular atrophy, and some results are reported at the end of the article.

Keywords: hand exoskeleton | home assistance | mechatronics design | robotics | telerehabilitation | wearable robot

[10] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Volpe Y., Governi L., Reverse engineering by CAD template fitting: study of a fast and robust template-fitting strategy, Engineering with Computers, 37(4), 2803-2821, (2021). Abstract

Abstract: This paper considers the fitting of a CAD template model to tessellated data as strategy to implement a reverse engineering process that aims at the reconstruction of a parametric associative CAD model. The reconstruction methodology, called Template-Based CAD Reconstruction (TCRT), has been presented and fully discussed in a previous paper Buonamici et al. (J Comput Des Eng 5:145–159, 2018). The present paper focuses on the study of a fast and robust strategy to perform the fitting of the Template CAD Model to reference data. The study explores how different optimization strategies and evaluation metrics can affect a parametric CAD-fitting methodology. Two different optimization algorithms (PSO and GA) and three formulations of the objective function are tested to find the most effective combination. Reconstruction test cases are presented and discussed in the text.

Keywords: CAD reconstruction | CAD template | Fitting | Genetic Algorithm | Particle Swarm Optimization | Reverse engineering

[11] Marzola A., Buonamici F., Furferi R., Governi L., Genitori L., Mussa F., Additive manufacturing and reverse engineering in cranioplasty: A personalized approach to minimize skin flap complications, Applied Sciences (Switzerland), 11(11), (2021). Abstract

Abstract: Cranioplasty is a procedure performed to repair defects in the human skull bone by surgically reconstructing the shape and function of the cranium. Several complications, both intraoperative and postoperative, can affect the procedure’s outcome (e.g., inaccuracies of the reconstructed shape, infections, ulcer, necrosis). Although the design of additive manufactured implants in a preoperative stage has improved the general quality of cranioplasties, potential complications remain significant, especially in the presence of critical skin tissue conditions. In this paper, an innovative procedure to improve the chances of a positive outcome when facing critical conditions in a cranioplasty is described. The proposed approach relies on a structured planning phase articulated in a series of digital analyses and physical simulations performed on personalized medical devices that guide the surgeon in defining surgical cuts and designing the implant. The ultimate goal is to improve the chances of a positive outcome and a fast recovery for the patient. The procedure, described in extenso in the paper, was positively tested on a cranioplasty case study, which presented high risk factors.

Keywords: Additive manufacturing | Cranioplasty | Patient-specific implant | Skull reconstruction

[12] Servi M., Buonamici F., Puggelli L., Volpe Y., A new metrological characterization strategy for 3D multi-camera systems, International Journal on Interactive Design and Manufacturing, 15(1), 69-72, (2021). Abstract

Abstract: The objective of this study is to establish a new methodology for the metrological characterization of interactive multi-camera systems. In the case of 3D system highly adapted to specific needs the accuracy evaluation cannot be performed using standard state-of-the-art techniques. To this end, the metrological characterization techniques used in the literature were investigated in order to define a new methodology that can be adjusted to each device by making the appropriate modifications. The proposed strategy is adopted for the metrological characterization of a new interactive multi-camera system for the acquisition of the arm.

Keywords: Accuracy assessment | Device characterization | Multi-camera system | Optical device | VDI/VDE normative

[13] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Puggelli L., Servi M., Volpe Y., A Fast and Reliable Optical 3D Scanning System for Human Arm, Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering, 268-273, (2021). Abstract

Abstract: The article discusses the design of an acquisition system for the 3D surface of human arms. The system is composed by a 3D optical scanner implementing stereoscopic depth sensors and by an acquisition software responsible for the processing of the raw data. The 3D data acquired by the scanner is used as starting point for the manufacturing of custom-made 3D printed casts. Specifically, the article discusses the choices made in the development of an improved version of an existing system presented in [1] and presents the results achieved by the devised system.

Keywords: 3D printing | 3D scanning | Arm scanner | Body scanner | Orthoses

[14] Secciani N., Pagliai M., Buonamici F., Vannetti F., Volpe Y., Ridolfi A., A Novel Architecture for a Fully Wearable Assistive Hand Exoskeleton System, Mechanisms and Machine Science, 91, 120-127, (2021). Abstract

Abstract: Robotics for Medicine and Healthcare is undoubtedly an important emerging sector of the newborn third millennium. There are many aspects in which this branch of robotics already operates; in this article, the focus will be on the so-called “Robotic assistive technology”. In particular, a novel electromechanical design for an assistive Hand Exoskeleton System is presented here. Since freedom of movement plays a crucial role in making actually usable an assistive device, the main point of innovation of the proposed solution lies in the complete wearability of the resulting system: including mechanics, control electronics, and power supply. From the combination of the authors’ previous experience with the improvements presented in this article comes a fully standalone tailor-made assistive device.

[15] Guariento L., Buonamici F., Marzola A., Volpe Y., Governi L., Graded Gyroid Structures for Load Bearing Orthopedic Implants, Proceedings of the 2020 IEEE 10th International Conference on "Nanomaterials: Applications and Properties", NAP 2020, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: The availability of advanced tools able to model complex geometries along with the relaxing of the constraints related to the manufacturing technologies are heavily transforming the design approach in many fields, including healthcare. The focus of this paper is on the optimization of porous lightweight cellular geometries in the orthopedic implants design: lattice structures have proven to fulfill the biological, mechanical, and technological constraints required in designing load bearing devices. The aim is to collect the information provided by the related literature to describe the effects induced by the selection of parameters designing lattice gyroid structures for orthopedic implants.

Keywords: custom metal implant | design for additive manufacturing | gyroid | metallic lattice structures | triply periodic minimal surface

[16] Servi M., Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Volpe Y., Facchini F., Ghionzoli M., Messineo A., CAD-based automatic modelling of customized cutting templates for Pectus Arcuatum surgical correction, Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS, 2020-July, 6044-6048, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: Pectus Arcuatum (PA) is a congenital chest wall deformity which produces a superior manubrial and sternal protrusion, particularly at the sternal angle. PA surgical correction to reduce the angle of the sternum always includes the removal of bone portion by means of horizontal sternal osteotomies, resection of deformed rib cartilage and finally stabilization of the anterior thoracic wall. Within this process an incorrect assessment of the sternotomy angle during the procedure may lead to the need for bone or cartilage grafts to fill the left voids. This problem has been addressed with a patient-specific cutting template, realized with Reverse Engineering and Additive Manufacturing techniques, which proved to be a key element to simplify the procedure and avoid the occurrence of this type of complications. In this work is presented and validated a procedure that, through common CAD operations, realizes in a completely automatic way the CAD model of the custom cutting template, so as to make non-expert users independent in the realization of the medical device.

[17] Buonamici F., Furferi R., Governi L., Marzola A., Volpe Y., Scene acquisition with multiple 2D and 3D optical sensors: A PSO-based visibility optimization, Sensors (Switzerland), 20(6), (2020). Abstract

Abstract: Designing an acquisition system for 2D or 3D information, based on the integration of data provided by different sensors is a task that requires a labor-intensive initial design phase. Indeed, the definition of the architecture of such acquisition systems needs to start from the identification of the position and orientation of the sensors observing the scene. Their placement is carefully studied to enhance the efficacy of the system. This often coincides with the need to maximize the surfaces observed by the sensors or some other metric. An automatic optimization procedure based on the Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm, to seek the most convenient setting of multiple optical sensors observing a 3D scene, is proposed. The procedure has been developed to provide a fast and efficient tool for 2D and 3D data acquisition. Three different objective functions of general validity, to be used in future applications, are proposed and described in the text. Various filters are introduced to reduce computational times of the whole procedure. The method is capable of handling occlusions from undesired obstacle in the scene. Finally, the entire method is discussed with reference to 1) the development of a body scanner for the arm-wrist-hand district and 2) the acquisition of an internal environment as case studies.

Keywords: 3D scanning | Body scanner | Computer graphics | Optical sensors | PSO | Sensor placement | Visibility analysis

[18] Buonamici F., Furferi R., Governi L., Lazzeri S., McGreevy K.S., Servi M., Talanti E., Uccheddu F., Volpe Y., A practical methodology for computer-aided design of custom 3D printable casts for wrist fractures, Visual Computer, 36(2), 375-390, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: In recent years, breakthroughs in the fields of reverse engineering and additive manufacturing techniques have led to the development of innovative solutions for personalized medicine. 3D technologies are quickly becoming a new treatment concept that hinges on the ability to shape patient-specific devices.Among the wide spectrum of medical applications, the orthopaedic sector is experiencing the most benefits. Several studies proposed modelling procedures for patient-specific 3D-printed casts for wrist orthoses, for example. Unfortunately, the proposed approaches are not ready to be used directly in clinical practice since the design of these devices requires significant interaction among medical staff, reverse engineering experts, additive manufacturing specialists and CAD designers. This paper proposes a new practical methodology to produce 3D printable casts for wrist immobilization with the aim of overcoming these drawbacks. In particular, the idea is to realize an exhaustive system that can be used within a paediatric environment. It should provide both a fast and accurate dedicated scanning of the hand-wrist-arm district, along with a series of easy-to-use semi-automatic tools for the modelling of the medical device. The system was designed to be used directly by the clinical staff after a brief training. It was tested on a set of five case studies with the aim of proving its general reliability and identifying possible major flaws. Casts obtained using the proposed system were manufactured using a commercial 3D printer, and the device’s compliance with medical requirements was tested. Results showed that the designed casts were correctly generated by the medical staff without the need of involving engineers. Moreover, positive feedback was provided by the users involved in the experiment.

Keywords: CAD | Cast modelling | Orthosis modelling | Personalized medicine | Reverse engineering

[19] Facchini F., Morabito A., Buonamici F., Mussi E., Servi M., Volpe Y., Autologous ear reconstruction: Towards a semiautomatic cadbased procedure for 3D printable surgical guides, Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 18(2), 357-367, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: The autologous ear reconstruction surgery, i.e. the reconstruction of the missing ear anatomy with autologous cartilage tissue in case of partial or complete absence of the auricular region, can be extremely complicated due to the unique shape and size of this anatomical region. Operations of sculpting and carving of the costal cartilage in order to realize the ear reproduction require a high degree of manual expertise and experience from the surgeon. The development of surgical aids that can provide the physician with guidelines during the reconstruction is being studied in the literature. However, state-of-the-art techniques do not represent the optimal solution and only partially help in the reconstruction process. They are based on two-or three-dimensional templates of the target anatomy, providing visual support, yet not helping in the actual reconstruction phase, or, in some cases, by providing active aid but not simplifying the procedure sufficiently. In this context, the option of creating custom cutting guides that could actively assist the surgeon both in the pre-operative planning phase and during the surgery was considered. The proposed approach involves the use of surgical guides adopted for the cutting and reconstruction of the individual anatomical elements involved. Through an iterative process carried out in collaboration with the surgeon the characteristics of the surgical guides have been defined. Subsequently, a method that can be applied systematically to model the cutting guides, ready to be printed with additive production techniques was defined. The procedure was designed with a view to a future semi-automatization of the entire process that could make the physician autonomous in the realization of the patient-specific guides.

Keywords: 3D Ear Templates | Autologous Ear Reconstruction | CAD modelling | Personalized Medicine | Reverse Engineering

[20] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Volpe Y., Governi L., Generative design: An explorative study, Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 18(1), 144-155, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: Generative design tools have recently become an interesting solution to tackle design problems in several technical fields. This article takes into consideration the specific field of mechanical design and aims at describing available generative design solutions capable of dealing with structural optimization problems. The study provides a practical description on the workflow and performances of a specific software system implementing a generative approach for the generation of a set of alternative solutions for a static structural design problem. The software analyzed is Autodesk’s Generative Design, hosted in Fusion 360. The article discusses the functioning of the software and its performances; an enhanced focus on the features oriented to the generation of manufacturable shapes is provided in the text. In order to provide a practical and effective procedure, a literature case study was selected to test the software.

Keywords: Biomimetic Design | CAD | Generative Design | Structural Optimization | Topology Optimization

[21] Meli E., Furferi R., Rind A., Ridolfi A., Volpe Y., Buonamici F., A General Framework for Designing 3D Impellers Using Topology Optimization and Additive Manufacturing, IEEE Access, 8, 60259-60269, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling is still today the elective process for the production of single-piece impellers, as it can reliably produce complex geometries, removing the need for additional manufacturing processes. Nevertheless, Additive Manufacturing is winning more and more ground due to its ability to make components of any geometry that cannot be produced using subtractive techniques. As a result, the use of this technology can eventually be seen as the key to develop high-performance rotor components. In this scenario, the design of 3D impellers does not make an exception. Accordingly, the present paper proposes a general framework for engineered re-design and manufacture of 3D impellers installed on centrifugal compressors by exploiting Topology Optimization and Additive Manufacturing's potential. The procedure investigates also the rotoric component's best configuration for both static and dynamic behavior. Finally, the topology-optimized component is produced with AM through the use of suitable materials that can ensure efficient mechanical efficiency to prove the manufacturability of the entire procedure. To validate the proposed framework, the complete re-design of a 3D impeller of a major Italian-based Oil Gas company is carried out, demonstrating that the re-thinking of the component in terms of Topology Optimization is a straightforward approach to increase the overall performance of the produced rotoric part.

Keywords: 3D impellers | additive manufacturing | design | topology optimization | turbomachinery

[22] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Governi L., Volpe Y., CAD Reconstruction: A Study on Reverse Modelling Strategies, Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering, 165-176, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: Computer Aided reconstruction of mechanical parts nowadays heavily relies on dedicated RE software systems and highly skilled users to be carried out effectively. This paper investigates this scenario in order to identify most limiting factors in the current framework. With this respect, several considerations of general validity are drawn while presenting the problem from a theoretical perspective. A significant test case reconstruction, discussed in depth in the manuscript, is used to provide a practical point of view on real applications and help the reader acquire a hands-on comprehension of the current situation.

Keywords: CAD | CAD reconstruction | Reverse engineering

[23] Buonamici F., Guariento L., Volpe Y., 3D Digital Surgical Planning: An Investigation of Low-Cost Software Tools for Concurrent Design, Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering, 765-775, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: Bone tumor resections have to be carefully planned in order to avoid intralesional cuts and thus lower the recurrence rate. Until the present-day bone resections have been performed freehand, using anatomical landmarks as reference points to retrieve planned resection planes over the very patient. Such method is highly prone to failure to the detriment of the patient’s health, in fact survival rate for osteosarcomas is very low, ranging between 20% and 47%. The clinical outcome is highly dependent on the resections’ accuracy; several emerging techniques proved to dramatically increase cutting accuracy, as well as survival rate, in particular Patient Specific Instruments (PSIs) and custom 3D printed metal prosthesis. The main limitation to a massive spread of this method is the large manufacturing time due to a lack of communication between surgeons and engineers about the surgical approach and the design constraints. This paper aims to compare several general-purpose low-cost software and to provide surgeons with an effective and easy to use platform to visually share information in a natural manner with engineers thus providing as many design constraints as possible, speed up the design process and avoid unfeasible results. Two surgeons from Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Careggi tested and evaluated a series of software. From this preliminary investigation Forger, a digital sculpting and texture painting application for iOS, resulted as the most user friendly and intuitive application among the test group.

Keywords: Computer aided surgery | Concurrent design | Digital surgical planning | Human computer interaction

[24] Buonamici F., Marzola A., Servi M., Uccheddu F., Volpe Y., Ghionzoli M., Messineo A., Pectus excavatum: a new approach for monitoring cup-suction treatment, IFMBE Proceedings, 76, 746-754, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: The introduction of the vacuum bell (VB) for the conservative treatment of Pectus Excavatum (PE) has led to a new non-invasive alternative to thoracic surgery. The VB works by elevating the chest as long as a negative differential pressure is internally assured. In recent years studies have been conducted to validate this type of treatment and to outline its correct use; results show a short-term PE improvement when the device is worn for a minimum of 30 min (twice a day) up to a maximum of several hours a day for 12–15 months. Although the worldwide diffusion of VB devices increases year after year, its ability to lift the chest during treatment with respect to the applied pressure has begun to be evaluated only recently. In this paper, a new instrument for measuring chest elevation during treatment is presented and validated. The proposed system consists of two measurement devices: a commercial instrument for the detection of the negative pressure inside the VB, and a specifically developed optical system for the detection of chest movement. The effectiveness of the proposed system, tested on five paediatric patients, paves the way to the objective definition of an optimised patient specific VB scheme of use.

Keywords: Image processing | Optical measurement | Pectus Excavatum | Vacuum bell

[25] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Lazzeri S., Servi M., Talanti E., Volpe Y., Automatic CAD modeling of ventilation holes for 3D printed wrist orthoses, Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 17(2), 325-336, (2020). Abstract

Abstract: The present paper presents the study of a semi-automatic CAD technique for the generation of ventilation holes on ABS AM-manufactured arm orthoses. A lighter device, good air and water transpiration and an increased patient’s comfort are the main advantages achievable by introducing openings on plastic casts. The proposed procedure relies on the adaptation of a reference pattern of holes, obtained integrating both structural and functional aspects, to each patient’s cast. The adaptation procedure maps the original pattern, respecting its proportions, on each target orthosis, thanks to a set of reference points automatically extracted. The generation of holes is performed relying on an advanced CAD environment (i.e. Siemens NX), where a series of CAD modeling operations, based on the data extracted by the mapping algorithm, have been studied and tested. The whole procedure has been tested on 5 orthoses to validate its efficacy.

Keywords: Cad | Cast modeling | Orthosis modeling | Personalized medicine

[26] Servi M., Buonamici F., Furferi R., Governi L., Uccheddu F., Volpe Y., Leng S., Facchini F., Ghionzoli M., Messineo A., Pectus Carinatum: a non-invasive and objective measurement of severity, Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, 57(8), 1727-1735, (2019). Abstract

Abstract: To date, standard methods for assessing the severity of chest wall deformities are mostly linked to X-ray and CT scans. However, the use of radiations limits their use when there is a need to monitor the development of the pathology over time. This is particularly important when dealing with patients suffering from Pectus Carinatum, whose treatment mainly requires the use of corrective braces and a systematic supervision. In recent years, the assessment of severity of chest deformities by means of radiation-free devices became increasingly popular but not yet adopted as standard clinical practice. The present study aims to define an objective measure by defining a severity index (named External Pectus Carinatum Index) used to monitor the course of the disease during treatment. Computed on the optical acquisition of the patients’ chest by means of an appositely devised, fast and easy-to-use, body scanner, the proposed index has been validated on a sample composed of a control group and a group of Pectus Carinatum patients. The index proved to be reliable and accurate in the characterization of the pathology, enabling the definition of a threshold that allows to distinguish the cases of patients with PC from those of healthy subjects. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Keywords: Index | Optical imaging | Pectus Carinatum | Severity assessment | Three-dimensional

[27] Meli E., Rindi A., Ridolfi A., Furferi R., Buonamici F., Iurisci G., Corbò S., Cangioli F., Design and production of innovative turbomachinery components via topology optimization and additive manufacturing, International Journal of Rotating Machinery, 2019, (2019). Abstract

Abstract: The present paper proposes a methodology to design and manufacture optimized turbomachinery components by leveraging the potential of Topology Optimization (TO) and Additive Manufacturing (AM). The method envisages the use of TO to define the best configuration of the rotoric components in terms of both static and dynamic behavior with a resultant reduction of overall weight. Eventually, the topology-optimized component is manufactured by using appropriate materials that can guarantee valid mechanical performances. The proposed strategy has been applied to a 2D impeller used for centrifugal compressors to prove the effectiveness of a TO+AM-based approach. Although this approach has never been extensively used before to centrifugal compressors and expanders, its application on rotor and stator components might unlock several benefits: Tuning the natural frequencies, a reduction in the stress level, and a lighter weight of the rotating part. These objectives can be reached alone or in combination, performing a single analysis or a multiple analyses optimization. Finally, the introduction of AM technologies as standard manufacturing resources could bring sensible benefits with respect to the time to production and availability of components. Such aspects are essential in the Oil and Gas context, when dealing with new projects but also for service operations.

[28] Buonamici F., Volpe Y., Furferi R., Carfagni M., Signorini G., Goli G., Governi L., Fioravanti M., Bamboo’s bio-inspired material design through additive manufacturing technologies, Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, 24, 809-826, (2019). Abstract

Abstract: Bamboo is one of the longest-used organic raw materials in the tropics for a large number of different purposes in the daily lives of human beings. Because of its excellent physical-mechanical properties, in many parts of the world it is widely used as a structural material, especially for the construction of scaffolding and the construction of buildings. The bamboo can be modelled as a composite material, consisting of a of a parenchyma cells matrix, similar to a foam, reinforced by bundles of fibers associated with vessels. The present work aimed to explore the possibility to design a 3D printed biomimetic composite material able of keeping advantages from the bamboo morphological structure. Samples made of PVA, ABS and PVA + ABS were manufactured using Fused Deposition Modelling and tested under compression and bending conditions. The behavior under compression has shown to depend mainly on the material used while in bending the structure has shown important effects leading the sample made of PVA + ABS to have the same performances of much expensive pure ABS.

Keywords: Additive manufacturing | Bamboo | Structure optimization

[29] Buonamici F., Furferi R., Governi L., Puggelli L., Volpe Y., Tactile reproduction of paintings: The experience of the Department of Industrial Engineering of Florence, IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 364(1), (2018). Abstract

Abstract: Within the T-VedO project, financed by Tuscany Region, the Reverse Engineering and Virtual Prototyping Lab team of the Department of Industrial Engineering of Florence (Italy) developed a number of methods for the semiautomatic generation of digital 2.5D models starting from paintings. Once such models are prototyped, they can be used to enhance visually impaired people tactile experience of artworks. Such methods, combined into a systematic procedure, allow to solve most of the typical problems arising when dealing with artistic representation of a painted scene. The present paper presents both an overview of the proposed procedure, including most recent updates, and the results obtained for a selected number of artworks of the Florentine Renaissance.

Keywords: 2.5D models | 3D Reconstruction | CAD

[30] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Governi L., Lapini A., Volpe Y., Reverse engineering modeling methods and tools: a survey, Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 15(3), 443-464, (2018). Abstract

Abstract: Reverse Engineering (RE) is a long-term goal of engineering and computer science; it aims at the reconstruction of CAD models from measured data by means of 3D mathematical surfaces and geometrical features representing the geometry of a physical part. In the last two decades, reviews and surveys have occasionally covered this topic, but a systematic dissertation of modeling methods from a mechanical engineering point of view is still missing. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap; starting from a general description of the overall RE framework (acquisition, segmentation, classification, fitting), both an up-to-date survey and a categorization of available modeling techniques and tools working on 3D data are provided. The main aspects of various strategies are discussed as well, in order to highlight strengths and weaknesses characterizing different approaches. Moreover, an overview of commercial software for RE is presented, considering both dedicated solutions and packages supplied as add-on with ‘traditional’ CAD systems. Finally, possible improvements to be addressed by the research in the RE field are discussed, outlining potential future trends that are still to be investigated.

Keywords: 3D modeling | CAD reconstruction | constrained fitting | Reverse engineering | reverse engineering software

[31] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Governi L., Lapini A., Volpe Y., Reverse engineering of mechanical parts: A template-based approach, Journal of Computational Design and Engineering, 5(2), 145-159, (2018). Abstract

Abstract: Template-Based reverse engineering approaches represent a relatively poorly explored strategy in the field of CAD reconstruction from polygonal models. Inspired by recent works suggesting the possibility/opportunity of exploiting a parametric description (i.e. CAD template) of the object to be reconstructed in order to retrieve a meaningful digital representation, a novel reverse engineering approach for the reconstruction of CAD models starting from 3D mesh data is proposed. The reconstruction process is performed relying on a CAD template, whose feature tree and geometric constraints are defined according to the a priori information on the physical object. The CAD template is fitted upon the mesh data, optimizing its dimensional parameters and positioning/orientation by means of a particle swarm optimization algorithm. As a result, a parametric CAD model that perfectly fulfils the imposed geometric relations is produced and a feature tree, defining an associative modelling history, is available to the reverse engineer. The proposed implementation exploits a cooperation between a CAD software package (Siemens NX) and a numerical software environment (MATLAB). Five reconstruction tests, covering both synthetic and real-scanned mesh data, are presented and discussed in the manuscript; the results are finally compared with models generated by state of the art reverse engineering software and key aspects to be addressed in future work are hinted at.

Keywords: 3D mesh | CAD reconstruction | CAD template | Constrained fitting | Particle Swarm Optimization | Reverse engineering

[32] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Governi L., Saccardi M., Volpe Y., Optimizing fabrication outcome in low-cost FDM machines. Part 2 - tests, Manufacturing Technology, 18(4), 552-558, (2018). Abstract

Abstract: Several models of FDM machines, characterized by different architecture and hardware components, have flooded the market in the last 5 years. As a result, given the high sensitivity of FDM to the specific machine characteristics, the search for optimal printing parameters is a renown problem. This two-parts paper proposes an easy-to-follow and low-cost procedure for the characterization of any given FDM machine. The method allows the evaluation of the effects of a wide selection of FDM process parameters on the quality of 3D printed parts. The first part focused on the definition of a series of metrics to be measured on a series of test prints to evaluate the quality of the produced parts. The evaluation of seven quality parameters on a single print is made possible thanks to: i) a specifically designed specimen that is made available to the user and ii) a rigorous and repeatable measurement procedure, which are both discussed in the first part of the paper. This second part presents the characterization procedure, the statistical tools used in the experimentation (DOE tools and principles are adopted throughout the experimentation) and provides guidelines to be used for the characterization of any FDM machine. The whole procedure is tested on a desktop FDM machine to demonstrate obtainable results, proving the efficacy of the proposed methodology and highlight strengths and drawbacks of the approach.

Keywords: 3D printing | Additive manufacturing (AM) | Design of experiments (DOE) | Fused deposition modeling (FDM) | Process optimization

[33] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Governi L., Saccardi M., Volpe Y., Optimizing fabrication outcome in low-cost FDM machines. Part 1-Metrics, Manufacturing Technology, 18(3), 372-378, (2018). Abstract

Abstract: Several models of FDM machines, characterized by different architecture and hardware components, have flooded the market in the last 5 years. As a result, given the high sensitivity of FDM to the specific machine characteristics, the search for optimal printing parameters is a renown problem. This two-parts paper proposes an easy-to-follow and low-cost procedure for the characterization of any given FDM machine. The method allows the evaluation of the effects of a wide selection of FDM process parameters on the quality of 3D printed parts. The first part focuses on the definition of a series of metrics to be measured on a series of test prints to evaluate the quality of the produced parts. Specifically, several effects are considered: dimensional accuracy, small details, overhang surfaces, ability of printing small holes/thin extrusions and overall quality of the prints. The evaluation of seven quality parameters on a single print is made possible thanks to: i) a specifically designed specimen that is made available to the user and ii) a rigorous and repeatable measurement procedure, which are both discussed in the first part of the paper. The second part presents the characterization procedure, the statistical tools used in the experimentation and provides guidelines to be used for the characterization of any FDM machine. The whole procedure is tested on a desktop FDM machine to demonstrate obtainable results.

Keywords: 3D Printing | Additive Manufacturing (AM) | Design of Experiments (DOE) | Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) | Process Optimization

[34] Buonamici F., Furferi R., Governi L., Lazzeri S., McGreevy K.S., Servi M., Talanti E., Uccheddu F., Volpe Y., A CAD-based procedure for designing 3D printable arm-wrist-hand cast, Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 16(1), 25-34, (2018). Abstract

Abstract: Wrist injuries are one of the most common fractures, specifically around 25% of fractures among the pediatric population and up to 18% in the elderly age group are distal radius fractures. To date, the standard treatment entails the use of a tailor-made plaster of Paris cast. Although it is a simple and reliable treatment, it presents several disadvantages: its weight generally causes discomfort, it cannot be taken off without breaking it, it can cause skin rashes and prevents ventilation of the treated area. To overcome the limitations of the above mentioned treatment, 3D printed orthopaedic casts based on reverse engineering (RE) and additive manufacturing (AM) techniques have been proposed in literature. Despite these solutions prove to be a valid alternative to the standard treatment, the clinical use of AM-based devices is not trivial due to the need of expert CAD modelers to design the 3D model of the orthosis starting from the patient’s anatomy 3D acquisition. In this work, the authors identify a systematic procedure to create an orthosis model, compliant with medical guidelines, using common CAD tools. The systematic procedure, even still manually performed, envisages a set of tasks, grouped into five main blocks, that will be easy to be automatized in the future, thus eliminating the necessity of designing expertise to model the orthosis. The proposed procedure allows to design a device composed of two halves, to ease the application, locked through a zip tie-based mechanism. A preliminary ventilation pattern is proposed and tested with a FEM analysis to ensure structural resistance. The procedure has been tested on six case studies: all the orthoses models were correctly generated without major complications and positive user feedbacks were generally obtained throughout the tests.

Keywords: Cad | Cast modeling | Orthosis modelling | Personalized medicine | Reverse engineering

[35] Buonamici F., Furferi R., Genitori L., Governi L., Marzola A., Mussa F., Volpe Y., Reverse engineering techniques for virtual reconstruction of defective skulls: An overview of existing approaches, Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 16(1), 103-112, (2018). Abstract

Abstract: The surgical process adopted to repair cranial defects using an implant, typically called Cranioplasty, has seen an abrupt increase in recent years due to the introduction of Reverse Engineering (RE) and Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques. By adopting these techniques, CT/MRI data can be used to reconstruct, in a pre-operative stage, the 3D anatomy of the defective skull in order to design a patient-specific digital model of the prosthesis. The so-designed cranial plate can be then fabricated via AM, in a suitable metal alloy, and implanted. This allows for a perfect fit of the implant during the actual surgery, reducing the risks for the patient and increasing the efficacy of the treatment. This paper reviews existing approaches for the virtual reconstruction of defective skulls, and a basic classification, proposing four different classes of strategies (Mirroring, Surface Interpolation, Template-Based and Slice-based techniques) is provided. The findings of the study suggest that the reconstruction of skull defects is still an open problem, due to the complexities imposed by surface that needs to be retrieved (i.e. the human anatomy). All the presented approaches share weaknesses and limits, which are discussed in the article. Finally, possible directions to improve the existing techniques are briefly presented.

Keywords: Biomedical engineering | Cranioplasty | Reverse engineering | Skull reconstruction

[36] Buonamici F., Lapini A., An overview of constrained fitting optimization techniques for reverse engineering of mechanical parts, International Journal of Mechanics, 11, 188-196, (2017). Abstract

Abstract: Reverse Engineering represents a long-term goal of computer science and engineering; it aims at the reconstruction of digital models from measured data by means of 3D mathematical surfaces and geometrical features representing the geometry of a physical part. In this paper, an overview of constrained fitting optimization methods specifically devised for the reconstruction of mechanical parts is proposed, highlighting the connections between the theoretical problem and some practical solutions. Furthermore, algorithmic procedures are provided in order to underline the main differences between the considered approaches. Critical aspects of constrained fitting and recent trends on Reverse Engineering are finally presented and discussed.

Keywords: CAD reconstruction | Constrained fitting | Optimization algorithms | Reverse engineering

[37] Buonamici F., Furferi R., Governi L., Volpe Y., Designing the architecture of a preliminary system for assisting tactile exploration of bas-reliefs, Journal of Design Research, 15(2), 110-127, (2017). Abstract

Abstract: The participation of blind people (BP) in cultural life can be improved by enhancing methodologies and tools for facilitating the 3D reproduction of artworks and, at the same time, to facilitate their exploration. The creation of integrated systems including not only tactile media such as, for instance, sculptures or bas-reliefs but even a set of tools capable of providing the users with an experience cognitively comparable to the one originally envisioned by the artist, may undoubtedly enhance artworks exploration. The present work aims to design a conceptual system to aid BP in the tactile exploration of bas-reliefs. This conceptual system comprises both a hand-tracking system and an audio device, together with a number of methodologies, algorithms and information related to physical design. The designed layout, preliminarily tested to understand its potential and limits, proved to be a promising first attempt in enhancing the BP exploration experience.

Keywords: 3D reconstruction | Blind people | Hand-tracking system | Tactile bas-relief | Tactile exploration

[38] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Volpe Y., Recent strategies for 3D reconstruction using reverse engineering: A bird’s eye view, Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering, 0, 841-850, (2017). Abstract

Abstract: This paper presents a brief review of recent methods and tools available to designers to perform reverse engineering of CAD models starting from 3D scanned data (mesh/points). Initially, the basic RE framework, shared by the vast majority of techniques, is sketched out. Two main RE strategies are subsequently identified and discussed: automatic approaches and user-guided ones.

Keywords: CAD reconstruction | Constrained Fitting | Reverse Engineering

[39] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Furferi R., Governi L., Volpe Y., Are we ready to build a system for assisting blind people in tactile exploration of bas-reliefs?, Sensors (Switzerland), 16(9), (2016). Abstract

Abstract: Nowadays, the creation of methodologies and tools for facilitating the 3D reproduction of artworks and, contextually, to make their exploration possible and more meaningful for blind users is becoming increasingly relevant in society. Accordingly, the creation of integrated systems including both tactile media (e.g., bas-reliefs) and interfaces capable of providing the users with an experience cognitively comparable to the one originally envisioned by the artist, may be considered the next step for enhancing artworks exploration. In light of this, the present work provides a description of a first-attempt system designed to aid blind people (BP) in the tactile exploration of bas-reliefs. In detail, consistent hardware layout, comprising a hand-tracking system based on Kinect® sensor and an audio device, together with a number of methodologies, algorithms and information related to physical design are proposed. Moreover, according to experimental test on the developed system related to the device position, some design alternatives are suggested so as to discuss pros and cons.

Keywords: 3D reconstruction | Blind people | Hand-tracking system | Kinect sensor

[40] Buonamici F., Carfagni M., Reverse engineering of mechanical parts: A brief overview of existing approaches and possible new strategies, Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference, 1B-2016, (2016). Abstract

Abstract: Reverse Engineering (RE), also known as "CAD reconstruction", aims at the reconstruction of 3D geometric models of objects/mechanical parts, starting from 3D measured data (points/mesh). In recent years, considerable developments in RE were achieved thanks to both academic and industrial research (e.g. RE software packages). The aim of this work is to provide an overview of state of the art techniques and approaches presented in recent years (considering at the same time tools and methods provided by commercial CAD software and RE systems). In particular, this article focuses on the "constrained fitting" approach, which considers geometrical constraints between the generated surfaces, improving the reconstruction result. On the basis of the overview, possible theoretical principles are drafted with the aim of suggest new strategies to make the CAD reconstruction process more effective in order to obtain more ready/usable CAD models. Finally, a new RE framework is briefly outlined: the proposed approach hypothesizes a tool built within the environment of an existing CAD system and considers the fitting of a custom-built archetypal model, defined with all the a-priori known dimensions and constraints, to the scanned data.

[41] Bianchi M., Buonamici F., Furferi R., Vanni N., Design and optimization of a flexion/extension mechanism for a hand exoskeleton system, Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference, 1A-2016, (2016). Abstract

Abstract: Hand impairments represent a significant category of injuries, which can be limiting and impeding in the execution of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). As can be widely appreciated in scientific literature, a great number of solutions has been proposed in last years for rehabilitating and assisting the patient in both mechanical (e.g. object manipulation) and also social tasks (e.g. shaking hands). Among the numerous approaches, robotic Hand Exoskeleton Systems (HES) represent a vast class of solutions to the problem, as they have several advantages. Contrarily to functional electrical stimulation techniques, for example, HES devices are less invasive and entail to a lesser induced muscular fatigue. In the present work, the authors propose the redesign of a HES robotic device developed at the University of Florence, by means of Topological Optimization (TO) techniques. Even if the existing device is already functional and tested it is still characterized by high encumbrances and masses, in disrespect to the functional requirements. The redesign process has been addressed to a future production of the final object prototype in a titanium alloy, by means of an Electron Beam Melting (EBM) 3D printing machine. The entire procedure was carried out starting from a complete kinematic and dynamic study, followed by the application of TO techniques and it was finally validated by Finite Element Method (FEM) analysis. A single-finger mechanism prototype has been fabricated through additive manufacturing (by means of PolyJet technology) to test the ergonomics and aesthetics of the device. The problem is introduced and contextualized in the Introduction section, while the methodology is subsequently extensively explained, followed by the presentation of the results. In the Conclusion section, the discussion of the process and the result is presented, while possible improving and developments are briefly hinted at.

[42] Buonamici F., Furferi R., Governi L., Volpe Y., Making blind people autonomous in the exploration of tactile models: A feasibility study, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), 9176, 82-93, (2015). Abstract

Abstract: Blind people are typically excluded from equal access to the world’s visual culture, thus being often unable to achieve concrete benefits of art education and enjoyment. This is particularly true when dealing with paintings due to their bi-dimensional nature impossible to be explored using the sense of touch. This may be partially overcome by translating paintings into tactile bas-reliefs. However, evidence from recent studies suggests that the mere tactile exploration is often not sufficient to fully understand and enjoy bas-reliefs. The integration of different sensorial stimuli proves to dramatically enrich the haptic exploration. Moreover, granting blind people the possibility of autonomously accessing and enjoying pictorial works of art, is undoubtedly a good strategy to enrich their exploration. Accordingly, the main aim of the present work is to assess the feasibility of a new system consisting of a physical bas-relief, a vision system tracking the blind user’s hands during “exploration” and an audio system providing verbal descriptions. The study, supported by preliminary tests, demonstrates the effectiveness of such an approach capable to transform a frustrating, bewildering and negative experience (i.e. the mere tactile exploration) into one that is liberating, fulfilling, stimulating and fun.

Keywords: Blind people | Cultural heritage | Hand tracking | Human-computer interaction