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Avatars to compete in first Bionic Olympics

Called the Cybathlon, the Olympics-like format and approach will pit the best robot-assisted parathletes against one another in competitions

A coalition of Swiss robotics labs has announced the Cybathlon, the first-ever international competition for athletes who use prosthetics and other aids.

The event will be held in Switzerland in October, 2016. It is a championship for robot-assisted parathletes, and if some part of your body is assisted or moved by external power for example, a robotic prosthetic or an exoskeleton you can compete.

Aside from the usual mechanical appendages like bionic body parts and exoskeletons on show, you can expect a show of mental prowess as well, in the form of a brain-computer interface race, during which paralysed participants control avatars in racing games. Yes, just like Avatar. The competition is modelled after the Olympics, and will feature six events.

Powered Leg Prosthetics Race, Bike race and Powered Wheelchair Race are three of the competitions the athletes will compete inPowered Leg Prosthetics Race, Bike race and Powered Wheelchair Race are three of the competitions the athletes will compete in

Organised on behalf of the Swiss National Competence Centre of Research in Robotics (NCCR Robotics), the competition is being held to spur interest in emerging human-oriented robotics technologies.

Unlike the Olympics, where athletes can use prosthetics only to make themselves as good as able-bodied athletes and not better, Cybathlon competitors are encouraged to use the best technology. Dual prizes will be awarded, one to the athlete and one to the company that created the prosthetic, device, or software.

Olympic spirit
The six competition events are :
>> Arm Prosthetics Race
>> Leg Prosthetics Race
>> Exoskeleton Race
>> FES Bike race 
>> Powered Wheelchair Race
>> Brain-Computer Interface Race

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