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Swiss Motors Move Exoskeletons Worldwide

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Swiss Motors Move Exoskeletons Worldwide
Swiss Motors Move Exoskeletons Worldwide

Video: Swiss Motors Move Exoskeletons Worldwide

Отличия серверных жестких дисков от десктопных
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For months now, 74 athletes from 59 teams around the world have been training intensively, while the participating scientists and companies are working with them on the latest refinements in technology. Until the competition on October 8, 2016 in the Swiss Arena Kloten in Zurich, the interaction between technology and users must be perfectly coordinated. In contrast to the Paralympic games, the Cybathlon does not focus on top athletic performance, but on the optimal combination of everyday robotic aids and their users.

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The technology is developed at some of the world's most renowned technical universities, such as the Imperial College, the TU Delft or the cybathlon organizer ETH Zurich, as well as by leading commercial prosthesis manufacturers. Seven teams come from Switzerland alone.

From the Mars rover to the exoskeleton

Robot suits have to be strong and yet very light. If the weight is too high, the battery drains far too quickly. This is a challenge for the developers. Most motors that are strong enough to move an exoskeleton are large and heavy. That is why many engineers turn to the Swiss company that has already developed the motors for NASA's Mars rover: Maxon Motor. The drives from Maxon are strong, light and energy-efficient, thus protecting the batteries. And they are quiet and durable.

"We have perfected our engines over the decades," says Maxon's CEO, Eugen Elmiger. A lot has been invested in research and development. Today, motors from Switzerland are everywhere: in robots, airplanes, cars or medical devices. And also in exoskeletons, prosthetic arms and legs and electric wheelchairs.

Barrier-free future through technology

In addition to organizing an exciting international competition, ETH Zurich is pursuing two other goals with the Cybathlon. "The preparations for cybathlon have opened our eyes to the needs of people with physical limitations," explains initiator Robert Riener, professor of sensorimotor systems at ETH Zurich, and concludes: "Too many of us know too little about the everyday problems of the people among us - we want to change that.”

At the same time, ETH Zurich would like to encourage researchers and developers to tinker with technologies that actually benefit their users in everyday life. For example, a symposium with top-class scientists will take place on October 6, 2016 at the start of the Cybathlon. The competition is also not designed as a one-off event. Future cybathlons should take up further topics, for example how older people can be supported. The focus should always be on what really moves people with physical and sensory limitations.

Forbidden at Paralympics, a must at Cybathlon: the use of the latest technology

At the Cybathlon games, teams from all over the world compete with their machine-assisted pilots in six disciplines: leg prostheses, arm prostheses, exoskeletons, motorized wheelchairs, bicycles with muscle stimulation and virtual races through thought control. What is not allowed at the Paralympics is even a must at the Cybathlon: the use of the latest technology. "With the Cybathlon, we want to break down barriers between the public, people with disabilities and science," says the inventor of the Cybathlon Riener.

The Swiss drive specialist Maxon Motor supports the Cybathlon as a sponsor and partner and will be present on site - with a workshop for the teams and a small exhibition on the historical development of prostheses. (kj)

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