Each year we find that technology advances further and further, especially when it comes to the technology that helps people live better lives.
Last month, The Department of Veteran Affairs announced that in addition to the benefits for injured Veterans they already provide, like assisting with the costs for wheelchair accessible vans, they’re now going to approve payment for robotic leg devices, as well.
Now, the first ever Cybathlon has been announced, and will take place in Switzerland this fall.
What Exactly is a Cybathlon?
Created by ETH Zurich and NCCR Robotics professor Robert Reiner, a Cybathlon is much like the Paralympics, the difference being that the athletes of a Cybathlon use assistive technologies.
The goal of the Cybathlon is to bring technology developers and the people using their devices together, while also promoting the use of robotic assistance to the general public.
The Cybathlon will be broken up into six different categories: Brain-Computer Interface Race, Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike Race, Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, Powered Leg Prosthesis Race, Powered Exoskeleton Race, and Powered Wheelchair Race.
Each set of games will consist of challenges to both the wearer and the assistive technology, and will highlight everyday tasks the technology was built for. For example, in the Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, the athlete will complete a series of six tasks like using a can opener and putting clothespins on a clothing line (utilizing the powered prosthesis, of course).
In each race, four assistive technology users will compete to solve the most number of daily tasks in the least amount of time. Then, two trophies will be awarded: one to the athlete and one to the creator of the assistive technology they were competing with.
In addition to the six main events, other technology assisted side events will be happening as a way to highlight the technology present at the games. Additionally, two days before the main games there will be a technology symposium aimed to bring together leading experts and young researchers to discuss advances in this space.
Want to get more information about the games? Check out the Cybathlon’s website before the games happen on October 8, 2016.