It had to happen sooner or later. Since traditional sports are reluctant to accept athletes with prosthetic augmentation, the ground is fertile and the time is ripe for the debut of the Cybathlon, described by its promoters as “a championship for racing pilots with disabilities (i.e., parathletes) who are using advanced assistive devices including robotic technologies.”
The inaugural event will be held 2016 in Zürich, Switzerland, in the Kolping Arena.
Similar to other forms of technology-based competition such as auto and sailboat racing, the event will feature competitions in various classes, such as powered knee prostheses, wearable arm prostheses, powered exoskeletons, powered wheelchairs, electrically stimulated muscles, and novel brain-computer interfaces.
The planned events will include:
- Brain Computer Interface Race
- Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race
- Powered Leg Prosthetics Race
- Powered Exoskeleton Race
- Powered Wheelchair Race
- Powered Arm Prosthetics Race
One novel twist is that there will be two medals for each event -- one for the pilot driving the device, the other for the maker of the assistive technology. The devices can be either commercially available prosthetics or one-off prototypes straight out of a research lab.
The story continues on EE Times sister site Qmed.