Now in a fully virtual, interactive format, the CYBATHLON Symposium has taken place on September 17 and 18 in spite of the pandemic crisis running. The Symposium is a conference format that adds scientific and discursive context to the main event, the CYBATHLON, which will take place on November 13-14 2020. The CYBATHLON is a unique championship in which people with physical disabilities compete against each other to complete everyday tasks using state-of-the-art technical assistance systems. This year’s CYBATHLON Symposium has been dedicated to the user-driven design approach and evaluation of assistive technology.
At INBOTS we didn’t want to miss this opportunity. The team from ETH Zurich who – as part of INBOTS – participates in the promotion of the debate on legal, ethical and socioeconomic issues and on the societal uptake of Interactive Robotics, has contributed towards the CYBATHLON Symposium with their work on the “Myosuit”. The Myosuit is a novel lightweight exoskeleton that facilitates rehabilitation training for people with limited mobility. In this study, the team from ETH Zurich showed that the Myosuit allowed people with a spinal cord injury to walk faster and farther, inside and outside in the Alps. Thereby, it can improve rehabilitation training and contribute towards a better health-related quality of life.
Prof. Robert Riener, the Principal Investigator of the research team at ETH Zurich and initiator of the CYBATHLON, has also joined a panel discussion on “Promoting the provision and acceptance of assistive technologies”. He pointed out that in an ideal future, we would not need the CYBATHLON anymore: all obstacles would be removed and intelligent technology would fully empower people with disabilities to participate in society without limitations.
However, until then, the CYBATHLON is a great platform for technology providers and users of this technology alike to compete with each other and create a positive impact visible to the larger public.