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Dublin: 16°C Tuesday 9 August 2022

Switzerland will be hosting the first ever bionic Olympics in 2016

Put it down on your calendar.

Image: rienerr/YouTube

WE HAVE THE summer Olympics and the Euros to look forward to in 2016, but there’s another event happening that year that could be just as big.

The Cybathlon is the first ever international competition for athletes who use prosthetic and other aids.

Competitors will compete using assistive devices like wearable arm prostheses, powered exoskeletons, powered wheelchairs and electrically stimulated muscles among others.

Sponsored by the Swiss National Competence Center of Research in Robotics (NCCR Robotics), the idea is to promote the development of new medical devices and research.

The events in the Cybathlon will include a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) race for those who are fully paralysed, a Functional Electric Simulation Bike race, a leg prosthetics race, powered exoskeleton race, powered wheelchair race and arm prosthetics.

Unlike the Olympics, which requires everyone to be on a level playing field, Cybathlon competitors are encouraged to use the best technology they can get their hands on. According to the competition’s website:

The rules of the competition are made in such way that the novel technology will give the pilot an advantage over a pilot that would use a comparable but less advanced or conventional assistive technology.

It also assures that it will be difficult or impossible for the competing pilots to “game” the competition and get an unfair advantage. Some of the races will require participants to complete tasks or navigate obstacles such as ramps, pillars, or carry weights over a certain distance.

There will be two medals for each competition: one for the pilot and one for the organisation or company that provided the device, software or prosthetic used.

The event will take place in Zurich on 8th October, 2016.

(Video: rienerr/YouTube)

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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