May 18, 2020
Dr. Robert Riener is a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. His research involves exoskeletons, brain-computer interfaces, and EEG. He is also in charge of running the Cybathlon in ETH Zurich, which is an Olympic-like event where patients with disabilities compete, using assistive robotic devices. In this episode, he discusses the Cybathlon, its events, and its goals and purpose.
Top three takeaways:
[0:00] Ladan introduces the episode and the guest, Dr. Robert Riener
[2:20] Riener discusses his research and how the robotic devices that he researches work
[6:30] Cybathlon is an athletic competition for disabled people who use robotic devices; there are several events including the brain-computer interface race
[9:00] Russia also enjoys this event, and is coordinating their own similar event. President Putin has stated that he is willing to organize the next international Cybathlon event in Russia in 2024.
[12:30] The most important goal of the Cybathlon is to support the inclusion of people with disabilities into athletic events
[15:00] The obstacle courses in the events are centered around daily life events; for example, an activity for patients with arm prosthetics may involve the use of the BCI arm to manipulate and carry objects
[18:30] The awards in the competition include not only a medal and a cup, but also the honor of participating, and the “Swiss experience”
[21:00] “Techno-doping” is approved, and even encouraged, as long as it is done in a safe manner
[25:00] About 80% of the teams competing in the Cybathlon are developing completely new technologies, or are updating existing technologies
[28:20] This could be the biggest brain-computer interface event that’s ever happened