Leonardo Cappello is an Assistant Professor at The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa, Italy), working on the design of new technologies in the field of upper limb prosthetics, neurorehabilitation, and neurophysiology of touch.
His research focus includes haptics, rehabilitation robotics, and neurosciences.
He obtained a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2009 from the University of Florence (Florence, Italy) with the thesis “The Design of Lower Limb Prosthesis for Developing Countries”. His thesis was awarded “Tattarillo” Award 2012 - Appropriate technologies and South of the World from Engineers Without Borders – Florence.
In 2011 he obtained an MS degree in Biomedical Engineering with the thesis “Design of patella loading device for use during knee surgery” from the University of Florence. He conducted his thesis project while he was visiting student at the European Centre for Knee Research, Smith & Nephew (Leuven, Belgium) funded by the grant LLLP/Erasmus Placement, advised by Prof. Bernardo Innocenti.
In 2012 he was recruited as Research Fellow by the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Genova, Italy) and in 2016 he obtained a Ph.D. in “Robotics, Cognition and Interaction Technologies” from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia – Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences department. During his Ph.D. he visited and collaborated with research teams at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis MN, US) and the University of Bristol (Bristol, UK).
In 2014 and 2015 he was visiting Ph.D. student at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) in Prof. Lorenzo Masia's robotics lab working on the design and development of a wearable assistive soft exoskeleton for upper limbs and in 2015 his contribution to the International Conference of Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR) was awarded the Best Student Paper Award and the same year with a team of colleagues he won the Tech.Social Hackathon - Hacking For Social Good organized by NTUitive in partnership with Intel.
In 2016 and 2017 he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Cambridge MA, US), advised by Prof. Conor Walsh, working on an assistive soft robotic glove.
From 2017 to 2022 he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa, Italy), advised by Prof. Christian Cipriani and working on the design of novel mechanisms for robotic hand and wrist prosthesis, soft sensors, and on the neurophysiology of touch.