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special populations

Bionic Games

Cybathlon is the brainchild of robotics professor Robert Riener

Shortly after the world had been treated to an amazing Paralympics in Rio, another remarkable event involving disabled athletes took place in Switzerland. Tom Walker speaks to Robert Riener, the creator of Cybathlon

L

ast month, 65 teams from across

pilots used brain signals to control avatars

the world – armed with robotic

in a specially developed computer game.

exoskeletons, electronic prostheses,

As well as a fierce competition – pitting

powered wheelchairs and other

some of the world’s leading universities and

assistive technology – arrived in Zurich,

research institutions against each other

Switzerland, to take part in the world's first

– the aim of Cybathlon was to highlight

Cybathlon. Organised by the Swiss Federal

how people with physical disabilities can

Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), the

be helped by tech aids in their everyday

event was dubbed the first “bionic Olympics”.

activities and what the future of assistive

The competition saw severely disabled

technology could look like.

“pilots” compete in different races using

54 Issue 128  November/December 2016

the latest in robotics and prosthesis

FEEL THE TECH

innovation. In total, competitors took part

Unlike the Paralympics, where athletes are

in six different disciplines, ranging from

prohibited from using any powered aids,

a powered exoskeleton race to a brain

Cybathlon puts the technology at the centre

computer interface (BCI) race, in which

of the competition. sportsmanagement.co.uk

Profile for Leisure Media

Sports Management November/December 2016 issue 128  

Sports Management August 2016 issue 125 Sports Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global sports faci...

Sports Management November/December 2016 issue 128  

Sports Management August 2016 issue 125 Sports Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global sports faci...