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In 2016, There Will Be An Olympics For Bionic Athletes
March 27, 2014
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A rendering of the Powered Exoskeleton Race, to be competed at the 2016 Cybathlon in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo: Cybathlon)

It's been just over a month since the Sochi Games wrapped up, and even less since the end of the Paralympics, and we're still coming down from Olympic fever. Listening to stories from athletes returning from the Games — George just talked to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and the three Dufour-Lapointe sisters will be on the red couch on Friday — has made us eager for the next Olympics.

That's also why we're so intrigued by the official announcement this week of the upcoming Cybathlon — an Olympics-like sporting event for bionic athletes. 

That is, it's a competition for "racing pilots with disabilities (i.e. parathletes) who are using advanced assistive devices including robotic technologies," according to the event's website. It's scheduled for October 2016 in Switzerland, and will feature six events: a bike race, leg race, wheelchair race, exoskeleton race, arm prosthetics race and a Brain Computer Interface race for competitors who are paralyzed from the waist down. Two prizes will be awarded for each event: one for the athlete, and one for the company or developer of the winning robotic technology.

The event is being sponsored by the National Centre of Competence in Research-Robotics and six other Swiss research groups. According to the Cybathlon website, the three objectives of the competition are as follows: "to promote the development of novel assistive systems and reinforce the scientific exchange, to improve the public awareness about the challenges and opportunities of assistive technologies, and to enable pilots with disabilities to compete in races, making this a unique event."

Here's a trailer for the Cybathlon that illustrates the events:

Via BBC News

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