The Cybathlon is the first championship for bionic athletes, comprising people with disabilities (known as pilots) using advanced assistive devices including robotic technologies. The event is organized on behalf of the Swiss National Competence Center of Research in Robotics (NCCR Robotics) and took place in Zurich, Switzerland in October 2016.

The Cybathlon consists of six different disciplines that apply the most modern technology in robotic assisted devices. These events are:

  • Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Race
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike Race
  • Powered Arm Prosthetics Race
  • Powered Leg Prosthetics Race
  • Powered Exoskeleton Race
  • Powered Wheelchair Race

The assistive devices can include not only commercially available products provided by companies, but also prototypes developed by research labs. The races within each discipline consist of a number of tasks or courses which incorporate day-to-day tasks and activities.

Two medals are awarded for each competition, one for the pilot who is driving the device, and one for the provider of the device.

The main goal of the Cybathlon is to provide a platform for the development of novel assistive technologies that are useful for daily life. As such the competition tasks consist of challenges that people with disabilities face from day-to-day such as climbing stairs, travelling over rough terrain and carrying objects from one room to another.

For more details of the courses, rules and regulations visit the Cybathlon website

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Race

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Race - Pilots are equipped with brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that enable them to control an avatar in a racing game played on computers.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike Race

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike Race - Pilots with complete Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) are equipped with Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) devices, which enable them to perform a pedalling movement on a cycling device along an oval track for 1000 m.

Powered Arm Prosthetics Race

Powered Arm Prosthetics Race - Pilots with forearm or upper arm amputations are equipped with arm prostheses. The pilots are asked to solve as many tasks as possible within a given time limit.

Powered Leg Prosthetics Race

Powered Leg Prosthetics Race - Pilots with transfemoral or knee exarticulation amputation are equipped with leg prostheses and are asked to complete an obstacle course of daily life tasks such as climbing a ramp or walking on a tilted path.

Powered Exoskeleton Race

Powered Exoskeleton Race - Pilots with complete thoracic or lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) are equipped with exoskeletons are asked to complete an obstacle course of daily life tasks such as climbing a ramp or walking on a tilted path.

Powered Wheelchair Race

Powered Wheelchair Race - Pilots with different disability levels (e.g. tetraplegia, paraplegia, amputation) are equipped with powered wheelchairs and are asked to complete an obstacle course of daily life tasks such as climbing a ramp or traversing a tilted path.