Monday, October 10, 2016

Cybathlon - Future Now!

Arenas have entertained us by displaying sport and grit. We as humans have always been fascinated and/or indulged in games and sports. It is an innate human behaviour, that which we believe stems from ages ago. However, these events also test what humans can achieve. What a five sensed creature with a tiny, yet powerful microprocessor aka 'the brain' can achieve.

We nurtured this brain of ours and started conquering the world as we know it. Humans simply thirst and are greedy for more. For more knowledge, more power, more command and control. It worked since ages. We conquered neighbouring cities, then crossed oceans, then took continents, the space and now disability. We are slowly avenging the fact that our presence is puny in this universe. We do that by displaying an exploding footprint.

But, there is a glimpse of the future here. Future Now. Paralysis, amputation and disability are slowly being shifted from the realm of inability to the realm of swag. Slowly, yet fascinatingly.

The Cybathlon that kicked off this year at Zurich, is one witness. We are here now. Our fantasy, the movies, the dreams that we had as children are no more such things. They aren't fantasy now, they are a reality in the pipeline.

The arena looked like it was the womb to another series of Olympic style events, but for advanced technology in rehabilitation. Check out their highlights here. Lo and Behold!

The Arena
The event touched on six different themes. Brain Computer Interface, Exoskeleton Race, Powered Arm Prosthesis, Powered Leg Prosthesis, Powered Wheelchair and electrically stimulated Bike race. People competed against each other using their brain waves, simply by thinking smart. People who were paralyzed waist down biked and raced against each other. People with missing limbs were showing off their cool cyborg like limbs.

Paraplegic biking with electrically stimulated legs
Each of these events were cheered on by the spectators. Nobody was ignored. No one was boo-ed. Everyone was motivated and pushed on, and people on the field were glee-ing and showing off their teeth!

Paraplegic making his own steps and doing the unthinkable
The tasks they had set out to do were items of daily activities. The tasks ranged from hanging clothes using clips, screwing light bulbs, carrying saucers over stairs, climbing stairs, stepping stones and so on, each showing off what the new tech they were wearing can do. 

I was intrigued by the wheelchair and Exoskeleton races. They could do amazing feats on the arena, which a few years ago would have been limited to a few research projects or conceptual ideas. Yet, they are now inching towards commercial ubiquity.

That's a Cyborg in the making

Zurich has now laid out a standard for competition in prosthetics and assistive devices for the years to come. An avalanche has begun.

As I sat there absorbing what is being transpired, I kept hearing this 'Its a good time to be alive'. The hair on my hands stood up in agreement. The next one is in 2020. So perfect for the Vision 2020, many world leaders had, as our very own Abdul Kalam. 

And as we conquer disability, we expand our arenas. We keep boasting. We smite our chests and stand tall. Is someone watching? Are we worthy yet?

Yes. We are super-humans. We are the future. Let it soak in.

(Is this a good theme for a new blog? :D Yay!)


  1. Thank you for post and your blog. My friend showed me your blog and I have been reading it ever since.Tamil News

  2. The event touched on six different themes. Brain Computer Interface, Exoskeleton Race, Powered Arm Prosthesis, Powered Leg Prosthesis, Powered. I shared information Vehicle towing company. It is best service provide. Thanks for posting.