CYBATHLON 2024: Building a fair, safe competition

15th May 2024
ARM Medal Ceremony - CYBATHLON 2016 | © CYBATHLON

ARM Medal Ceremony - CYBATHLON 2016


CYBATHLON competitions are at the cutting edge of assistive technology research and development, with teams around the world testing their assistive technologies in multiple challenges.

From wheelchairs that can climb stairs, to autonomous assistance robots carrying the mail and leg prostheses that allow the user to climb ladders, ingenious innovations are tailored to the needs of their end users, people with disabilities.

Since the inaugural event in 2016, CYBATHLON has challenged teams to push the boundaries of assistive technology. For the teams, this means completing a number of eligibility checks to ensure safety and fairness for everyone throughout the competition.

Why do we have eligibility criteria?

Pilots are at the heart of CYBATHLON as much as the devices themselves. Without people willing to take on months of training for the competitions, there would be no CYBATHLON!

Each team’s pilot must meet the eligibility criteria for their discipline and has to undergo a medical check prior to the event. While the eligibility criteria emphasise the inclusion of pilots with varying levels of ability, they are in place to ensure fairness across all of the disciplines, so that no teams hold an immediate advantage. This also helps to guarantee that a competitive spirit remains to drive the innovation needed to create much better devices.

The Races & Rules Book outlines the specific criteria for all disciplines, pilots, and devices as well as what to expect in the medical and technical checks. In the criteria for pilots, for example, any devices that are implanted in the pilot’s body must be medically stable for six months prior to the event, and pilots must reach the legal age in their home country by the first day of the event. We encourage all the teams participating in CYBATHLON 2024 to read them thoroughly and to get in touch with any questions before the event.

Setting up for the CYBATHLON Challenges 2024  | © CYBATHLON

Setting up for the CYBATHLON Challenges 2024


Transforming disappointment into opportunity

On occasion, there are teams who do not meet the criteria for competing in CYBATHLON. Team Mia Hand were unable to compete in the CYBATHLON Challenges 2023 as their pilot did not meet the eligibility criteria for the ARM race.

Team leader Amadeo Morandi said the whole team were sad and disappointed that they couldn’t take part, but that they are preparing for CYBATHLON 2024 by “working on the perfect combination for [their] device and training new pilots so [they] are ready for the next event”.

CYBATHLON Inclusion Criteria with Team MiaHand

Why do we perform MedChecks? To make sure CYBATHLON competitions are fair for all participants, pilots and their devices undergo a series of checks against discipline-specific criteria. In the ARM race, teams must find innovative technological solutions for controlling their device with a pilot that does not have a wrist joint. Here, ARM team Mia Hand share their story and tell us their plans for future CYBATHLON competitions.

Pilot Cristian Camoirano is now involved with training new pilots and continues to work on developing the device alongside the team.

The Mia Hand device itself is designed to provide the user with levels of customisation not currently seen on any other device. For Amedeo and his team, high performance and functionality aren’t the only thing that the end user needs in a prosthesis.

“We put a lot of effort into the design and developing the aesthetic components of the hand,” says Amedeo. “Mia Hand is the only prosthesis where the standard components can be customised so the user can express themselves.”

The team’s inability to compete in the CYBATHLON Challenges 2023 cannot take away from their innovations in designing the Mia Hand device. The story of Mia Hand’s pursuit of innovation despite their disappointment underscores the core values of the CYBATHLON. It represents integrity and the spirit of inclusive competition, and a commitment to the ethos of making the future more inclusive for people with disabilities.

Ultimately, CYBATHLON is about celebrating the human spirit and innovation. The eligibility criteria and medical checks play a huge role in making sure that the competition is a fair, safe place for everyone involved. These rules and checks help everyone to focus on what CYBATHLON is all about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with technology and supporting people with disabilities to create a world without barriers.

Tickets for CYBATHLON 2024 are on sale now!

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