VAMED supports Cybathlon 2016 in Zurich and Team "Mirage 91" of Graz University of Technology
VAMED supports this world premiere event that ETH Zurich is putting on: the world's first robot-assisted competition for athletes with disabilities. The Cybathlon will take place on October 8, 2016 in Zurich/Kloten, Switzerland.
Unlike the Paralympics, the Cybathlon is a robot-assisted competition, which was specifically created for people with physical disabilities. These para-athletes compete in six challenging disciplines, using the latest technical assistance systems, and receive support from research teams from all over the world. Visitors can watch athletes climb stairs with innovative wheelchairs, demonstrate their skill and speed with modern prostheses, or run a virtual race with the power of their minds.
Athletes will be fighting for the win in the following disciplines:
- Brain Computer Interface (BCI) racing - virtual racing through thought control
- Bike racing with electric muscle simulation (FES)
- Prosthetic arm parcours trail
- Prosthetic leg parcours trail
- Exoskeleton parcours trail
- Wheelchair parcours trail
VAMED supported the BCI team from the Graz University of Technology in their search for a suitable pilot. Dr. Mathias König, Director of VAMED's Neurology Treatment Center in Kapfenberg, nominated his patient Gerhard Kleinhofer, who could be considered, based on his disease. Gerhard Kleinhofer was the sports director of the Austrian luge team in tobogganing. In January 2014, Kleinhofer, who was 34 years old at the time, suffered a stroke in his brain stem. Since then, the mobility in his arms, legs and fingers has been severely reduced. But this father of a four-year-old son fought very hard to get back to living a normal life, including with the aid of a special wheelchair with a joystick. He can control it because he can move his fingers slightly. He can also write short text messages. After a few trial runs, medical tests and submitting an application for the Cybathlon, it was clear that the Mirage91 team had itself a pilot from Styria (Gusswerk near Mariazell). Learn more about this training and the Cybathlon in the YouTube video!
VAMED wishes the team and its pilot, Gerhard Kleinhofer, all the best and complete success at the first Cybathlon on October 8, 2016, in Zurich. We will continue to file reports.
Team "Mirage91" from Graz has been doing intensive training at the Neurological Treatment Center in Kapfenberg with its pilot, Gerhard Kleinhofer. The intensive training has already resulted in the first successes and the team keeps repeatedly beating their own best times. VAMED attended the last training session before the summer break to watch the "Mirage91" team and our pilot Gerhard Kleinhofer in action. The training took place at the Neurology Treatment Center in Kapfenberg.
"Team Mirage91," a team from the Graz University of Technology, will participate in the virtual racing through thought control (BCI) competition. It is the only university-associated Austrian team and is led by Dr. Gernot Müller-Putz, Director of the Institute for Neurotechnology of the Technical University of Graz. In Brain Computer Interface (BCI) racing, paraplegics race through an obstacle course using the power of their thoughts. They use a system that measures brain activity and converts it into control signals. They have to get an animated figure (avatar) to the finish line as quickly as possible. They have to make the avatar go faster or jump in certain areas by using certain "brain" signals. If they send the wrong signal, they put the brakes on the avatar.
What does BCI technology mean for the future treatment of neurology patients?
In the future, BCI devices could significantly improve the possibilities for functional electric stimulation and rehabilitation results by measuring brain activity. Ultimately, the purpose is to train paralyzed limbs through simulation techniques to the point where the person can once again use them in a functional manner.
It would then be possible, for example, for a person to use a laptop or even control an electric wheelchair with a Brain Computer Interface, but without having to press a single key. Robots could also be moved around to help patients with certain things, making their daily life easier and helping them to become more mobile.
With its rehabilitation facilities, VAMED is not only committed to providing the best possible care and treatment at the highest level - it is also a leader in innovation and development of new approaches to various types of rehabilitation. VAMED operates 15 rehabilitation clinics (12 in Austria, 2 in Switzerland and 1 in the Czech Republic) and is one of the leading private rehabilitation providers.
One of its focuses is on neurology, with seven VAMED rehabilitation facilities engaged in neurological rehabilitation. VAMED operates one of the leading specialty clinics for neurological rehabilitation in Switzerland - the Zihlschlacht Rehab Clinic.
VAMED is proud and happy to be involved in innovative and pioneering rehabilitation options that help people with disabilities to improve their mobility and quality of life.