Cybathlon Click


Cybathlon

Click comes from the Cybathlon in Zurich, the world's first bionic games - an event for competitors with bionic arms, robotic legs, motorised wheelchairs and brain controls.


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THEME SONG PLAYS. This week, heads, shoulders, knees, and toes. All of

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them bionic, all of them ready to race. This is the Cybathlon! THEME

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SONG PLAYS. APPLAUSE. Welcome to the Cybathlon.

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This is the world's first bionic Games. This is a Swiss arena in

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Zurich. 2500 people are getting ready to cheer on some of the most

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extraordinary athletes you will see this year. This is an event for

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those with bionic arms, motorised legs, brain controls and

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wheelchairs. It isn't just a challenge for the competitors who

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will be called pilots today, but the people who created these devices.

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They are awesome. This is going to be awesome. This is what the

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Cybathlon is all about. 66 teams from all over the globe have been

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designing, building, and training, for this very unique competition.

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Disabled athletes here known as pilots will be competing using

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advanced assisting devices. The Cybathalon is the brainchild

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of this man, Robert Reiner, a professor for sensory

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motor systems in Munich. It is an event for people

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with disabilities who are allowed to use any kind of technology,

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technology that helps them to better We are focusing on challenges

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of daily life and by allowing technology,

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we can also include people I am most excited about this notion

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that scientists and technologists spend the entire year inventing

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these crazy bionic limbs and everyone comes together

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to compete in this celebratory way. It is fantastic, it is such

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an extraordinary expression Each of the six disciplines

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will have qualifiers in the morning before the grand finals

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in the afternoon. Get around the course

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or through the obstacles in the shortest time,

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while incurring the lowest Well, that is what it is all

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about but this is where We are looking at challenges that

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are real day-to-day activities, something like getting

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through a door in a wheelchair As we move towards here we see

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something showing small detail. The arm prosthesis race involves

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being able to open a bottle, open a can, cut bread and as we head

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further in this direction, there are different types

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upon the floor and when it comes to the exoskeleton race,

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the leg prosthetic race and also the motorised wheelchair race,

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there are various challenges they have to cross over and in fact

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the stairs are looking like one of the real highlights

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to that wheelchair race. That is something I'm

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looking forward to seeing, they have to be able to get up

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and down at the end of the course Back to you, Spen, what do

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you have to show us? Our first event of the day

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is the Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, a series of tasks designed to really

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test those robotic digits and this is what goes

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into making a robotic arm. I want to break the physical

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barrier between the people At the end of elementary

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school I read a comic book I had an interest in both robotics

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and the medical field. This sensor can pick

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up my signal by pasting So this one is the flexor muscle

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and this one is the extended muscle and the third one

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is the thigh muscle. muscle and the third one

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is the thumb muscle. So, the competitors are using just

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two signals to operate this thing. The whole system can analyse

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the images, directly Maybe we can win

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because of that point. Yes, the Powered Arm Prosthesis Race

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is not just about power, it is also about precision

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and reliability. The teams need to come up

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with the very best ideas to help their pilot,

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twist and balance their way along The race is designed to test how

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well pilots and their prosthesis can complete tasks that would typically

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be challenging for them. Yes, this is the race

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where the mightiest tech in the world can be foiled

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by the humble clothes peg. I am joined by Martin Wallace

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from the company that are making these hands, they are carrying

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out some real world What is the next challenge that

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you feel you could reasonably The next thing is a very

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big technical challenge that would improve functionality

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in the touch sensitive nature. There is no feedback in commercially

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available hands for getting the signal back to the body

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at the moment, how hard someone is gripping something,

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how hot something is, all the things you get

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with actual fingers. Getting that technology in these

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hands would be ideal. What is amazing is the huge variety

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in designs for these prosthetic hands, some have five fingers

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and some only have two but as long as it does the job,

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you have the freedom to design The ultimate victor was a group

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of biomechanical engineering Together with their pilot, Bob,

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himself an expert in prosthetics, they went for a more established

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body-powered approach. This means that physical movements

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like reaching forward or lifting your shoulders are used

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to control the device. While this gold medal idea

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might have won the day, in the end just crossing

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the line was enough to send Now, as amazing as all the events

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are today, the next one you might think is

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particularly unusual, because you are not going to see any

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mechanics or any robotics. This is called FES, functional

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electric simulation, and it a bike race between two

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riders who are using their legs The deal is, both riders

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are paralysed, they cannot ordinarily move their legs

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and they are using electrical signals to trigger

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the muscles in their legs. I had a trampoline

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accident back in 2011. And I became what is known

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as tetraplegic, I have issues with moving all four limbs,

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my legs completely I cannot move. My arms and hands, I have

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difficulty moving them. Technology for disabled people

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is quite expensive these days, if more technology firms

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and universities collaborate they can make the technology more

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available for disabled people. To prepare for the Cybathalon I have

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been doing about one hour a day I have the arm cycles as well

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and we are not allowed to use that, so I had to do some testing to make

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sure that my legs are up to speed. At the minimum, I'd like to be

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in the top three, although I think I'm doing very well,

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I still do not know what is going It is not like the Paralympics

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where you sort of have a base rate already, it has happened before,

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everything is a bit in the unknown, so until we get there,

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who knows what will happen. Well, they wanted third or better

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and his wish came true. He was second fastest

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of all the qualifiers which placed him in the final

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showdown against Mark Moon As the heat continued,

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you can see that timing was everything, if the electrical

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pulses do not fire at the right time, you can end up

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pedalling backwards. Another thing that became clear,

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this is a physically exhausting event and that is actually a good

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thing, as the creator of the bike Normally, people with spinal injury,

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they have wasted muscles, One guy here with more

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muscles than I have. There are two different techniques

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of FES that we have heard of, one that you stick the electrodes

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on the skin but some teams are actually implanting

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the electrodes in the legs. We only use adhesive

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electrodes or shorts, we made shorts with electrodes

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on, you put them on, but they implanted it,

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the Americans implanted it. It is a little bit better

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for racing performance, but most of them do not want it,

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it is very expensive, if it gives trouble and they have

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in the past, you have to take it out This can just be used by any person

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with a spinal injury almost. And, the race was against

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an American with implants that Johnny found himself

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in the grand final. And after a monumental

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effort from both pilots, it was Mark Moon who

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beat Johnny to win. You look seriously focused there,

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how did it feel for you? It felt amazing, going really fast,

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I thought I was going to beat him, Went too high and had a bit

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of a reverse effect. You still did an absolutely great

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job, do you feel exhausted? I have been training

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a lot beforehand. I have had the bike a long

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time and it has been a great piece of kit,

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but training for here, tech check yesterday,

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five in the morning woke up, ten hours yesterday on the bike,

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setting everything up and today, The training for Cybathalon

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certainly seems as intense as any athletics event and how

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about this for focus? These pilots have complete or severe

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loss of moter function and are using a brain controlled

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interface to take part in a virtual The key is to generate the right

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sort of signals in your brain to make the right sort of moves

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and avoid the obstacles and ultimately it was the Swiss team

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but stormed to victory. Powered leg prosthesis remain one

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of the most well known prosthesis He pilots and navigates obstacles

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which seem easy to those with two legs but are really tough

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for traditional prosthetics and it was a contender

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from Iceland's Rio Knee Now, 30 years ago Sigourney Weaver

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picked up an alien Queen and lobbed her out of the air lock

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of her spaceship using a powered exoskeleton suit, one of the sci-fi

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highlights of my life. Now, admittedly, we are not quite

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there with the technology in reality yet, but today's final event

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showcases just how far we have, So we thought the exoskeleton

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is like a robot that has We basically got three motors,

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one is positioned here which does the hip motion

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or how big that it moves, the second one is there,

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the one for the shank There is the third one,

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this motor says how stiff It is basically the computer

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or the brain of the exoskeleton where all motions are

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saved and recalculated. There is always the possibility that

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something gets unplugged, We are quite confident

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that this will not happen. It is interesting to see how

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they compete against us and how they perform, that is what I am

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most excited about. We are like the underdogs,

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we only had two years of developing and five months of training

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and there are devices that have been developed for ten years and a pilot

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is training for four years. It would have been unrealistic

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to think we could win. I think we can give a good

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performance anyway. Well, they may not have had the time

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they wanted to prepare The team narrowly missed out

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on a place in the grand final but with a combination of nimble

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footwork and sheer perseverance, they won the competition's B final

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and finished fifth overall. The final was tense

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boiling down to a showdown Like the powered arm race,

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the course is made up of obstacles that people with limited movement

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can face in everyday life. Sitting down and getting up

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is tough, even in an exosuit. These pilots have complete leg

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paralysis meaning it was down to the suits to tackle the ramp

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and the uneven ground. In the end the USA looked

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to have a slight lead but a malfunction allowed the German

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pilot to gain the upper hand. Coming down the stairs

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it was neck and neck, a matter of who could complete

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those vital final few steps and by a whisker,

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Germany took the gold. You can see it was exhausting

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and after the medal ceremony we caught up with our old friends

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to see how they found Very exhausting, like climbing

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a mountain or running But it is very nice to be part

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of this event and I am very Tell me about the suit? Is it

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difficult to operate? You have to handle the steps,

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it keeps your mind in a good condition that you do not press

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the wrong ones and on top, you get tired more and more,

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it is altogether a big challenge. How was that moment for you,

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the first time you took Practising and training

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for me has nothing to do with how I am walking again,

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being back in the situation, So far, it is more like

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a work-out for me and a joy. Next up is the powered wheelchair

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race, which amongst other things sees them have to get up these

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steps, go across there and then Spencer, I believe you have a bit

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of history with one of these teams. I met up with one of the teams

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earlier in the year and tried out one of their very early prototypes

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in wheelchairs and as the internet However they are here and I caught

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up with them yesterday and their wheelchair looks even more

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impressive and it does work. They are in one of the heats

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taking place down there, so I have got everything

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crossed for them. And on the start line,

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the pilot looked confident. The problem is that the team are not

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allowed to intervene or help without

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getting disqualified, which meant as the race went on,

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they were left at the start. The only thing, it shut down

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the connection between the phone I could not do anything,

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the wheelchair, now it is working perfectly, but it is like any car

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engine, you have to press The problem was that they were stuck

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we could not do anything. I'm so sorry, I have seen this

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in action and I know The wheelchair final was a much

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closer run thing for the four finalists and again you can

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really see the variety The Hong Kong team went for these

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caterpillar tracks which made short That is not a wheelchair,

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that is a wheeltank! But that lack of suspension really

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gave the pilot a rocky ride And balance was the big

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issue as these chairs Really the climax of the event,

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with three pilots all reaching As the Hong Kong pilot had to once

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again be thrown about, Florian Hauser showed off a clever

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weight lifting feature of the Swiss chair, which ensured

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that he did not topple over. In fact, these stairs proved to be

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the crucial decider. It was a nail-biting finish that

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had the whole crowd, In the final seconds,

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the Swiss team came from third place to beat Hong Kong

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by just five seconds. It was a great feeling. We trained

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so much and it was also well. I don't know.

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Is it exhausting and does it take a lot of concentration?

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Yes, because I was nervous at the start, I think at the start,

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It is like the Mars Rover, it does not matter what kind

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You have done a lot of training and each wheel chair has its own special

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feature. Can you tell me through some of the highlights of what you

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have here? First, that is my steering. That is my programme that

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I have. That is the part of my seat so it depends on the level of the

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wheelchair. Would this be plausible to using day-to-day life or does it

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need more development? It is a perfect type. It had to go smaller,

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shorter but it is the right way. You begin with a prototype and then you

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adapted. I think in the future it will be, it will be a part of

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everyday. And that is it from

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the very first Cybathalon. It has, it has been a day filled

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with genuine warmth and enthusiasm. Listen to that and the crowd has

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made as much noise for the people coming last as they have

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for the people coming first, sometimes more noise for the person

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who crossed the line last. The other thing I noticed

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is that every competitor has finished the race,

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even if they know they have not won, even if they have known they have

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lost, there is no point, It is about going the distance

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and pushing this technology The thing is we often say

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it is the taking part, not the winning that matters,

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and we do not mean it. I think today, it is

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genuinely the case. I hope you have enjoyed it and found

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it as fascinating as we have.

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Click comes from Zurich and reports from the very first Cybathlon. The Cybathlon is a sporting competition featuring only disabled participants who compete using advanced assistive devices including robotic prosthesis, brain-computer interfaces and powered exoskeletons. In essence it is an Olympics for bionic athletes.

The competition features six disciplines - a Functional Electrical Stimulation bike race, a Powered Leg Prosthesis Race, a Powered Wheelchair Race, a Powered Exoskeleton Race, a Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, and a computerised race for competitors with paralysis using brain-computer interfaces to compete in a computer game (BCI Race). The competitors, known as 'pilots', can use both commercially available bionic technology and lab-developed prototypes. Medals will be awarded to both the athletes themselves and to the companies or institutions that create their bionics.


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