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SoftHand is a novel robotic hand combining the principles of soft robotics and postural human synergies to achieve a simple and effective implementation of the human functional and structural anthropomorphism in prosthetics aids. Originally developed for the industry by the Italian Institute of Technology and the “E. Piaggio” Research Center of University of Pisa, the SoftHand is becoming a prosthesis thanks to SoftPro, a H2020 research project. Thirty prosthetic users are currently testing it in 4 academic and rehabilitation centres around the world, to improve design, dexterity, and fitness to myoelectric prosthetic users. The latest design of the hand is smaller and lighter while keeping its merits: simplicity, due to the presence of one only motor; compliance, strength and robustness, thanks to its intrinsic softness and its human-like (19 degrees of freedom) architecture. The team involves a designer - who is also a tester - to improve design by considering also its social and aesthetic impact. Sustainability is a core issue of this research to present the market a robotic prosthetic hand with an affordable price; this goal has important socio-economical aspects. The paper will analyse market scenarios and competitors. The integration of contaminations coming from the Design and Humanities in the research flow is fundamental to explore the relationship between prosthetic appearance and social sustainability, which already achieve novel and unique self-interaction capabilities.

Authors: Maria Rosanna Fossati, Manuel Giuseppe Catalano, Giorgio Grioli, Antonio Bicchi

The paper presents the results of studies on sustainable mobility, conducted by a multidisciplinary research group. The aim of the activity is to design and assemble a totally modular and innovative bus. This vehicle, designed for sustainable mobility in Italian cities and sites of monumental artistic interest, is equipped with the latest generation of electric motors and batteries. It will therefore be made with environmentally friendly materials. The project aligns with the most recent European research lines on the theme "Building an integrated intelligent transport system". The methodological approach used is oriented towards the creation of a "collaborative ecosystem" between researchers and companies for the definition of a working prototype. The work is in line with the European guide on eco-sustainability of products, the reduction of pollution in urban centers and the so-called "circular economy" that minimizes the risk of non-recyclable waste. The project includes the main specialized multidisciplinary sectors.

Authors: Francesco Fittipaldi, Patrizia Ranzo, Rosanna Veneziano

Since the 1970’s scientific publication concerning sustainability have increased from one to 11,962 in 2016. Like all activities, the research behind these publications have an indirect impact on the environment (resource use, vehicles etc). Researchers in the topic of sustainability have an onus to account for their own impacts as part of their work and where possible, implement interventions. A life-cycle approach is currently the most advanced method of assessing the impact of a group or organisation. In this study an organisational life cycle assessment (O-LCA) approach was applied to a research project which focused on sustainability in the aquaculture sector. The objectives of the study were to (i) determine the impact of a research project, (ii) determine impact reduction opportunities, and (iii) to assess the use of O-LCA as a project management tool for academic research groups and projects. The results of this study indicated that commuting had the greatest impact, followed by conferences. The alternative scenarios analysed indicated that reductions of 5-16% in greenhouse gas emissions could be feasibly achieved and that O-LCA approaches could be applied to help sustainably manage such projects.

Authors: Ronan Cooney, Alexandre Tahar, Eoghan Clifford