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'Cyberathlon' will see disabled athletes compete in powered exoskeleton races

Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
March 28, 2014
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Massive sporting events like the Olympics are becoming increasingly tech-charged, but the games themselves remain unchanged for the most part. A new event called Cybathlon, however, wishes to fully integrate technology into its events, for what's billed as "The Championship for Robot-Assisted Parathletes." Due to be held in Switzerland in 2016, races will feature "pilots" outfitted with powered limb prosthetics, exoskeletons and wheelchairs that can be either commercial products or research prototypes. There will also be a bike race for competitors with muscle stimulation devices, and a fully computerized event pitting brain-controlled avatars against each other on a virtual track. While there'll be medals and glory for some, it's hoped Cybathlon will raise awareness of assistive tech and encourage development in the area. Nothing like a bit of healthy competition to moisten an engineer's brow.

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