The first Cyborg Olympiad will be held in October in Switzerland
Anatoly Alizar, Giktimes
In almost every sport, athletes are strictly prohibited from improving their body in any way. It is forbidden to take even the most harmless drugs like meldonium and coffee, not to mention mechanical implants and prostheses. This is considered a malicious violation and is punishable by disqualification, up to life.
The organizers of the first ever Cyborg Olympiad adhere to a strictly opposite principle. All participants of the Olympic Games in Zurich in October 2016 are required to make a hardware upgrade in order to qualify for the competition. The more radically modified the cyborg's body is, the higher the chances of winning.
Cybathlon organizers from the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich (ETH Zurich) do not plan to specifically improve the results of active athletes. On the contrary, the competitions are intended for people with disabilities who are forced to use various types of prostheses. These are exoskeletons for increasing strength using an external frame, robotic prosthetic arms and legs, neurocomputer interfaces for controlling a computer with the power of thought, etc.
For example, disabled people with complete spinal cord function damage will compete in high-speed cycling on the track, pedaling through the interface of functional electrical stimulation, giving impulses to the leg muscles.
People with amputated upper limbs will demonstrate the dexterity of mechanical prostheses by running a ring along a difficult route, trying not to touch the wire.
Owners of mechanical legs and exoskeletons will compete in obstacle running. Well, the completely paralyzed will fight in computer games, wearing helmets with electrodes and controlling virtual objects with the power of thought.
Athletes from 23 countries have already confirmed their participation in the Olympic Games. Each cyborg is accompanied by a technical support team – engineers with all the necessary equipment for the functioning of the robotic body.
The organizers hope that the Cybathlon will be successful, so that the next competitions will take place in 2020 in Tokyo, in parallel with the usual Olympics.
Scientists from the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich also expect that during the competition more advanced technical solutions will be found that can improve the lives of millions of people with disabilities around the world.
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