Biomedical Signal Processing

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Autonomic Nervous System Dynamics

Heartbeat dynamics and its spontaneous fluctuations are directly controlled by autonomic nervous system (ANS) outflow to the heart. Specifically, the multipath feedback system for neural control of the heart is manifested by the complex interaction between the sympathetic and parasympathetic (vagal) limbs of the ANS.

Brain-Heart Interaction

Through their dynamical interplay, the brain and the heart ensure fundamental homeostasis and mediate a number of physiological functions as well as their disease-related aberrations. Although a vast number of ad hoc analytical and computational tools have been recently applied to the non-invasive characterization of brain and heart dynamic functioning, little attention has been devoted to combining information to unveil the interactions between these two physiological systems.

Our research activity is focused on

EMG Processing

Many studies have been conducted on muscular fatigue. Muscular force production is mainly controlled by two phenomena: the recruitment of additional motor units (MUs) and the increase of firing rate of the already active MUs. These phenomena happen in different proportions in different muscles. Specifically, in some muscles the recruitment of new MUs can be stopped at about 50% of the maximal force, while in others it can be observed until the maximal voluntary contraction force.

Haptics and Robotics

This research activity is focused on

1) Investigate physiological correlates of haptic elicitation through advances biomedical signal processing methods

2) Investigate affective properties of touch and affective haptics devices

3) Exploit physiological correlates characterizing haptic devices

4) Develop novel haptic interfaces accounting for spontaneous physiological dynamics


Cardio-Respiratory Interaction

This research activity is focused on

1) The study of cardio-respiratory interaction during affective elicitation

2) Development of new metrics for cardio-respiratory interaction


The study of cardio-respiratory interaction during affective elicitation

1) The study of cardio-respiratory interaction during affective elicitation

2) Development of new metrics for cardio-respiratory interaction

EEG Processing

EEG Processing

This research activity focuses on brain dynamics investigation during affective elicitation involving different sensory elicitation.

Affective Computing

Affective Computing is a field of research that "relates to, arises from, or deliberately influences emotion or other affective phenomena" (Picard, MIT Press 1997).

Speech Processing

Speech signal is a nonstationary signal that is generated by a complex phenomenon that is influenced by the autonomic and somatic nervous systems, through the modulation of breathing activity, vocal muscles tension, salivation and mucus secretion. Generally, phonatory system can be modelled according to the so-called source-filter theory of speech production. In this model the source is represented by pulsatile airflow or turbulent airflow generated by the modulating action of the vocal folds.


Computational Physiology & Biomedical Instruments Group, University of Pisa


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