Josep Ballester and Pascal Bulholzer, and their fellow students, are busy preparing a highly-agile, stair-climbing wheelchair to compete at the Cybathalon, an event where individuals with physical disabilities will compete side by side in six demanding disciplines, using the latest assistive technologies. The Cybathalon, held Saturday, 8 October 2016, in Kloten, Switzerland, is being organized by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich).
The wheelchair is being developed by Team Screwo, a group of students from ETH Zurich, and the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). The chair and its pilot, will have to navigate a series of tricky obstacles, negotiate their way across steep, uneven ground, and climb a series of stairs during the Cybathalon’s Powered Wheelchair Race. Pilots with different kinds of spinal cord injuries, bilateral leg amputations or any other severe lesions preventing them from walking movements will included in the races. Powered wheelchairs that are controlled by joystick, a tongue drive, touchpad or any other technology are allowed.
The Powered Wheelchair Race is only one of the six events which will be held at the Cybathalon which include a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Race, a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike Race, a Powered Arm Prosthetics Race, a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike Race and a Powered Exoskeleton Race.
To learn more about the Cybathalon, visit http://www.cybathlon.ethz.ch/en/.