ETH organises world’s first Cybathlon

Szilvana Spett, Greater Zurich Area/ Café Europe
The Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich organising the first-ever Cybathlon.
The Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich organising the first-ever Cybathlon.

The Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich is organising the first-ever Cybathlon. Athletes with physical disabilities will compete using the latest robotic assistance devices.

Athletes at the Cybathlon, the world’s first robotic technology competition, will compete in six disciplines using the latest assistive technologies: tackling flights of stairs in the latest wheelchairs or proving their speed and skill using the most up-to-date modern prosthesis. There are also races for athletes wearing a robotic exoskeleton or powered wheelchairs.

As the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich writes in a statement, the first-ever Cybathlon – which opens on 8 October in Kloten just north of Zurich – is for athletes and technology alike. “In contrast to the Paralympics, the Cybathlon is not focussed on exceptional athletic performance, but on building the closest possible connections between everyday robotic assistance devices and the people who use them.”

The latest assistive technology that will be in use at the competition has been developed at some of the world’s leading technical universities, including Imperial College, Delft University of Technology and the ETH Zurich, as well as a number of leading commercial prosthetics manufacturers. According to the ETH Zurich, seven teams from Switzerland will compete.

Through the competition, the ETH Zurich wants to encourage researchers and developers to work on new technologies that will help users in every day life. At the same time, it wants to open societies eyes to the needs of people with physical disabilities.

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