25 August 2017

Cyborgization – to the masses!

Cybathletics: results of the first competition of Russian cyborgs

Blog of the company "Motorika", Geektimes

It's happened, friends! Cybathletics – Russia's first competition of people with high–tech prostheses - was successfully held in Moscow on June 15, 2017. Personally, I took part in a competition with a Stradivarius myoelectric prosthesis developed by our wonderful team.

On June 15, Russia took the first step towards mass cyborgization. More than 20 users of high–tech rehabilitation tools from all over the country gathered in Moscow, and not only to find out whose prosthesis is cooler, but also to declare to society that we are not disabled, but cyborgs. All the participants of the first Cybathletics prove by their example that thanks to technology, disability in the XXI century not only does not restrict human freedom, but can also become a source of unlimited opportunities for people who today are called disabled. And even if today's Cybathletics is far from mind–boggling technologies, this is just the beginning. We are on the right track.

Who participated?

Individual users of TSR (rehabilitation equipment), as well as development teams and prosthetic companies exhibiting their pilots can participate in Cybathletics.

23 users of prostheses and electric belts from all over the country came to try their hand at the competition. 9 teams put their pilots at the start, 3 of them with developments of their own production.

Prosthetic legs

Initially, we planned to hold the first Cybathletics in 3 disciplines – prosthetic arms, hip prostheses and electric strollers. But we began to receive a lot of applications from users of lower leg prostheses, so we allocated a separate discipline for them. 

Hip prosthesis users and shin prosthesis users cannot compete on equal terms. It's all about the knee. Electronic knees are still lagging behind natural, human ones. Since our track was originally made specifically for users of hip prostheses, the obstacle course did not seem difficult for cybathletes with leg prostheses. But we will prepare for the next Cybathletics and make a separate, more complex route for them.

In the discipline of prosthetic legs, pilots had to sit down and get up from the chair several times, step over and jump over obstacles, go down stairs, walk on a log and score 5 soccer balls into the goal. 

The fastest in the discipline of hip prostheses was a cybathlete, as well as a dancer and participant in the projects "Minute of Glory" and "Dancing", Evgeny Smirnov, who passed the track with the help of a Rheo Knee prosthesis from the Icelandic company Ossur.

Among the users of leg prostheses, Ivan Koldyshev was the fastest, also with a prosthesis from the Icelanders.

Prosthetic hands

Obstacle courses in Cybathletics simulate various everyday situations. Users of prosthetic hands had to move objects of various weights and shapes, screw a light bulb into a lamp, and pass a ring through a special maze. The tasks are not easy, given that items can only be taken with the help of a prosthesis.

The competition was opened by an 8-year-old girl Anya with our traction prosthetic hand "Kibi". Anya participated in Cybathletics outside the overall standings, nevertheless she coped with all the tasks of the track. Anya is a great fellow and our pride.

I passed the track with our own development – a myoelectric prosthetic forearm "Stradivarius". Our prosthesis makes only one grip, but perfectly fulfills its direct purpose – it is convenient to use. "Stradivarius" securely holds both heavy objects and delicate objects – for example, a light bulb. The prosthesis has a proportional control system – the hand can open/close faster or slower, depending on the strength of the tension of the forearm muscles.

During the passage of the route, none of the tasks caused me any particular difficulties, but I did not get into the top three in time. There is no reason to be upset – you need to get used to the prosthesis well and show the best result at the next competitions.

Cybathletics is a clash of different technologies. In the discipline of prosthetic hands, both users of the most modern and expensive brushes and users of traction prosthetics of the forearm, developed back in the Soviet Union, competed.

And the most amazing thing is that while traction prostheses are winning bionic ones! The first place in Cybathletics was taken by Andrey Ilyin with two traction prostheses of the forearm "Rudenko's Brush".

Just like at last year's international cyborg Games, the prosthetic arm, which can be called "obsolete", turned out to be more effective than modern bionics. Why? There are several reasons for this. Firstly, Andrey has been using his prostheses for more than 25 years. Any bionics user has much less experience, so Andrey is simply many times more experienced than our cyborgs. Secondly, Andrey has a pair amputation and when passing the route he used both of his prostheses, which is an advantage over cybathletes with one prosthesis. But, anyway, so far bionics has lost. I hope this fact will inspire developers of modern TCP to actively improve their products.

Electric wheelchairs

The electric wheelchair race turned out to be the smallest discipline – only two cybathletes took part in it. Alexander Kazanov overcame all the obstacles of the track faster with the help of the electric-powered UNAwheel stroller from the Russian developer Supreme Motors.

We can't do it without you

The goal of Cybathletics is to create and develop high–tech rehabilitation equipment that meets the challenges of the time. And this is not an easy task, especially if you try to solve it alone. Therefore, we encourage everyone interested in this topic to join us. 

Many teams, starting the development of rehabilitation tools, face many problems – there is no knowledge about the industry, it is difficult to find potential users and find partners. Cybathletics is a step to solve these problems. Let's bring the future closer together. 

If you care about the topic of modern prosthetics and rehabilitation, if you believe that modern prostheses can and should be improved, if you have your own vision, your own ideas and developments – get in touch, tell us about your projects, come to our laboratory. Cybathletics will unite any engineers, developers and just caring people.

I am sure that among the readers of this post there will be people using prostheses, strollers and other means of rehabilitation. I ask you to join the Cybathletics. Perhaps not as participants in the competition. It's enough just to not be shy, come to our events, communicate and unite. Let's share our knowledge and experience with each other, as well as with the developers of TSR. We are able to influence the creation of quality products that improve our lives. Our future is in our hands! 

What's next?

Already in November we will hold the second, larger-scale competitions of cybathletes. We will come up with new tasks, add new disciplines. Let's make the competition brighter, more dynamic, more spectacular. Don't miss it! 

Follow our news on social networks (VK, FB) and on the official website. Spread the information about our initiative. Tell your friends and relatives about our competitions – this will help you bring the bionic future of Russia closer.

We thank everyone who helped to implement the first cyborg competitions in Russia. Thanks to the organizers, judges, and volunteers. Thanks to Messe Dusseldorf Moscow, Leipziger Messe International and the Integration Forum for providing a platform for competitions. We express our gratitude to the Perspektiva Foundation, the FSS, ASI, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Labor of the Russian Federation, the Skolkovo Foundation, as well as the Sponsor Consulting, Medsi and SAP companies.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  25.08.2017

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