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Digitizing schools: the closing event of the Hairemi project of the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence of the Sant'Anna School. This is how the rowing simulator promotes inclusion

At the conclusion of the project, a simultaneous, remote test was held in Arzano and Naples by schoolchildren who measured themselves over the minute timing distance using haptic technology, which allows them to maneuver a robot connected to a virtual environment and receive tactile sensations back
Publication date: 29.05.2024
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The ESA (European Space Agency)-funded HAIREMI (Haptic Advanced Interactive Rower Enhancing Muscles) and Inclusive project that led to the development of a rowing machine that adopts haptic technology, or technology that allows a robot, real or virtual, to be maneuvered and receive haptic sensations as a response, connected to a virtual environment, is coming to a close.

The rowing simulator, which also makes the athletic gesture visible with the use of virtual reality, was tested, simultaneously and remotely, in Arzano and Naples, by students who measured themselves over the one-minute chronometric distance, during a live social broadcast, in coincidence with the ending of the project.

The simulator was created as part of the project, together with the Italian Rowing Federation, with the collaboration of researchers from the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence at the Sant'Anna School in Pisa, the company Protom and the European Space Agency - ESA, and is one of the initiatives promoted by ESA to digitize schools and promote inclusion through the promotion of sports activities.

In the project led for Sant'Anna School Alessandro Filippeschi, a researcher in the Intelligent Automation Systems Area of the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence, coordinated by associate professor Carlo Alberto Avizzano, Sant'Anna provided the simulator's robotic component and physical simulation models, while the Italian Rowing Federation participated in defining the requirements and in the experimental activities functional to the design and evaluation of the system.

HAIREMI allows users a multiplayer experience in which students physically located in different schools can compete against each other within a virtual reality environment. HAIREMI was designed with an eye toward inclusion, particularly for students with disabilities who may not be able to perform a complex and physically demanding gesture such as that required in rowing. In fact, the system is equipped with a rudder that allows a user to cooperate with the rower by changing the direction of the boat. In addition, the design of the robotic component of the system includes the ability to remove and replace the central part to accommodate and anchor wheelchairs. 

A recording of the closing event is available at the following link:

For more information about the project:

Cover Photo and Gallery: Images of tests with the rowing simulator.