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Communications of the ACM


Bionics in Competition

exoskeleton race competitor

Silke Pan of Team PolyWalk EPFL in the powered exoskeleton race.

Credit: Nicola Pitaro / ETH Zurich

Most physical competitions are based around the idea of participants pushing themselves physically, demonstrating to the world that they are the fastest, strongest, or otherwise physically gifted. For those with significant physical disabilities or injuries, however, simply accomplishing basic everyday tasks can be an Olympic-level feat.

That's where Cybathlon, a new competition designed to promote innovative assistive devices, may accomplish two goals: providing a competitive forum for disabled athletes, and highlighting the specific advances that are being made in robotic assistive aids designed to help those with significant physical disabilities.


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