CYBATHLON Challenges 2024
In February 2024, the third CYBATHLON Challenges will take place. Teams will compete against each other and showcase their current technology and the pilot’s skills in four selected tasks of their discipline of the CYBATHLON 2024 Races & Rules. The Challenges will be held in Zurich, Switzerland as well as decentrally at the teams' homes.
Following the successful two staging of the new format in May 2022 and March 2023, we are now ready for the CYBATHLON Challenges for the third time. International teams of researchers and developers can register in all the disciplines until September 30, 2023, for the CYBATHLON Challenges on Friday, 2 February 2024. The special feature of this event is that for the first time, the tasks for each discipline will be taking place simultaneously in parallel with a minute difference in starting time. Moreover, this is the first Challenges where all the disciplines, thus, including the Brain-Computer Interface Race and the FES Bike Race will take place. The Challenges is of course the build-up on the Road to 2024 which is to take place in October 2024.
In CYBATHLON competitions, teams of researchers and developers and their pilots compete in solving everyday tasks with new assistance systems in the following eight disciplines: Arm and Leg Prosthesis Race, Wheelchair Race, Exoskeleton Race, Vision Assistance Race, Assistance Robot Race, Brain-Computer Interface Race and the Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race. "Teams around the world are working hard on their new assistive devices to be able to register for the CYBATHON Challenges in February 2024. Up to eight teams per discipline can participate. It is a first come, first served basis," explains Roland Sigrist, who is the Co-Head and the Head of Competition at CYABTHLON. He emphasises that, “the CYBATHLON Challenges encourage the development teams to test their devices at an early stage to participate in the CYBATHLON 2024. The goal is to foster collaboration in the development process between the development teams and the pilots, i.e., the people with disabilities participating in the competition, from the very beginning.”
While in May 2022 the teams had to set up and solve one of the ten tasks and in March 2023 two of the ten tasks from the CYBATHLON 2024 Races & Rules at their competition site, in February 2024 each team must master four everyday tasks in most disciplines. For example, pilots must climb up and down a ladder in the Leg Prosthesis Race or navigate between pieces of furniture in a "crowd" represented by small robots in the Wheelchair Race. Each team has two attempts to complete all tasks in the shortest time possible. Six tasks of the brand-new brain-computer interface game must be solved in the BCI discipline. The team that solves both tasks at the best time wins. In the FES Bike Race, as a special discipline, the pilots need to cover 2000 m on a virtual racetrack on a smart trainer. The track has even some inclinations which is a new challenge compared to all previous CYBATHLON FES Bike Race competitions. The pilots who cover the distance fastest win the race.
The CYBATHLON Challenges 2023 featured 15 teams from all over the world. The teams competed in the Challenges on March 29, with seven teams in the Arm Prosthesis Race, two teams each in the Wheelchair and Vision Assistance Races, three teams in the Robot Assistance Race, and one team competing in the Leg Prosthesis Race. Eight teams competed at the Zurich Hub in Winterthur and the remaining seven teams began their races from their own home Hubs in Italy, France, Spain, the US, China and Indonesia.
A total of nine teams participated in the May 2022 CYBATHLON Challenges - five in the Arm Prosthesis Race and two each in the Exoskeleton and Wheelchair Races. In the Arm Prosthesis Race, it will definitely be exciting again. The French team SmartArM, with pilot Christophe Huchet, the winner of the May 2022 Challenges, and the second-placed Swedish team e-Opra with Magnus Niska will meet for the second time and promise a dramatic head-to-head race.