|26 July 2016|
Brain controlled computer games will be just one of the events at this year’s inaugural Cybathlon in Zurich which will showcase the amazing connections between everyday robotic assistance devices and the people who use them.
The competition – comprising six disciplines – will see competitors hop from stone to stone on prosthetic legs, move swiftly over uneven surfaces in a wheelchair and, thanks to the latest technology, it’s even possible to use a virtual avatar to overcome obstacles using only the power of thought.
The competition’s 59 teams, comprised of 74 athletes from all over the world, have been training intensely for months, working with participating scientists and companies to fine-tune their technology and carry out the last few adjustments. The technology and its users will need to be in perfect harmony by the time the competition kicks off on 8 October 2016 at the Swiss Arena in Kloten (Zurich).
The technology has been developed at some of the world’s leading technical universities, such as Imperial College, TU Delft, and Cybathlon organiser ETH Zurich, alongside a number of leading commercial prosthetics manufacturers. There are seven teams from Switzerland alone.
“The Cybathlon preparations have really opened our eyes to the needs of people with physical disabilities,” explains Robert Riener, Professor for Sensory-Motor Systems at ETH Zurich and founder of the event. “Too many of us know too little about the everyday problems that people with disabilities face in our society – that’s something we want to change.”