For disabled people, high-tech assistance systems are breaking barriers. Competitors in multi-sport championship Cybathlon are showing how these technologies are changing the game.

State-of-the-art ‘pilots’ are opening doors

It’s easy to take independence for granted, but for someone with a disability, a new piece of assistive technology that lets them perform an everyday task without help can never come soon enough.

To show the power of technological assistance systems (known to many as ‘pilots,’) every four years in Zürich, Switzerland, disabled people with software developers, engineers and neuroscientists use state-of-the-art assistance tech to compete in the multi-sport championship Cybathlon.

Of course, there are medals at stake. But Cybathlon exists to promote experimenting with assistive technologies to extend disabled people’s access to all parts of life. From using brain power to control avatars, to navigating obstacle courses with augmented limbs, Cybathlon wants to make sure we can all expect independence, regardless of impairment or injury.

Even Covid couldn’t stand in the way of Cybathlon 2020. Here’s how Cybathlon’s organizers and competing teams changed tack to deliver its most inclusive events yet.