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The Cybathlon is an international competition organised by ETH Zurich for disabled competitors allowed to use bionic assistive technology, such as robotic prostheses, brain-computer interfaces and powered exoskeletons. It is the first international competition of this kind, and took place in Zurich, Switzerland, on 8 October 2016.
The Cybathlon is presented by ETH Zurich and comes out of a collaboration with the Swiss National Center of Competence in Robotics Research, which intends to use the competition to promote the development and widespread use of bionic technology. Whereas other international competitions for disabled athletes, such as the Paralympics, only permit competitors to use unpowered assistive technology, the Cybathlon encourages the use of performance-enhancing technology such as powered exoskeletons. Registration for the Cybathlon opened in October 2014 and is open until 1st May 2016. A rehearsal event was held in Zurich in July 2015, allowing the participating teams to test and assess their robotic assistive technologies.
The Cybathlon features six disciplines – a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bicycle race, a Powered Leg Prosthesis Race, a Powered Wheelchair Race, a Powered Exoskeleton Race, a Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, and a computerised race for competitors with paralysis using brain-computer interfaces to compete in a computer game (BCI Race). The competitors, known as "pilots", can use both commercially available bionic technology and lab-developed prototypes. Medals are awarded to both the athletes themselves and to the companies or institutions that create their bionics.
In 2016, the competition was held in the Swiss city of Kloten, a total of 56 teams from 25 countries took part. Competitions are organized in such a way that the participants can demonstrate not only their own skills, but also the distinctive qualities of bionomic tools. For example, in the category of "hand prostheses", competitors attempted several food-related fine motor tasks and in the category "Neuro" the participants managed avatars in a specially designed computer game.
- Brain-computer interface race: Numa Poujouly - Team Brain Tweakers (Switzerland)
- Functional electrical stimulation bike race: Mark Muhn - Team Cleveland (US)
- Powered arm prosthesis race: Robert (Bob) Radocy - Team Dipo Power (Netherlands)
- Powered exoskeleton race: Andre Van Ruschen - Team ReWalk (Germany)
- Powered leg prosthesis race: Helgi Sveinsson - Team Rheo Knee (Iceland)
- Powered wheelchair race: Florian Hauser - Team HSR Enhanced (Switzerland)
- "Switzerland to host the first Cybathlon, an Olympics for bionic athletes". The Verge. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
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- "Cybathlon". Cybathlon.ethz.ch. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Registration now open for Cybathlon 2016". Robohub.org. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Going for gold: team leap over next hurdle in lead up to bionic Olympics". Imperial College London. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "Birth of the BIONIC Olympics: Competition will let athletes compete using exoskeletons and even brainwaves in 2016". Daily Mail. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
- Cybathlon: Battle of the bionic athletes, BBC
- Brain-Computer Interface
- Functional Electrical Simulation
- Official website and YouTube channel
- "Cybathlon 2016: first 'Olympics' for bionic athletes". Wired UK. 27 March 2014.