- Get in contact with your thoughts and comments via Twitter @InsideCybathlon
- 45 teams have entered the competition
- British team Motion Robotics have entered the Exoskeleton Race
- Jonathan Brough is still racing
- The Brainstormers have a pilot
- They’ll be competing against a team from Italy in the BCI race
16.15 That’s a wrap
That’s it for today’s liveblog. We thank all the teams who have contacted us today and told us how their preparations for next years tournament are going, hopefully you’ve enjoyed yourself and found a love for the tournament.
All the main points of today are featured at the top of this post so check back to find out what’s happened.
Thanks everyone. (CT)
16.10 Before we sign off…
We’d like to let you know what we’ve got got planned for the next couple of days.
We’ll have some audio with Rich Walker from Shadow Robot, where he’ll explain how he struggled to agree on a PhD and how he became involved with the Shadow company.
There’s a a new explainer about the arm prosthetics race and a community post based on your responses to our survey, amongst lots of other things. (CT)
16.04 A final update from the streets
Sam has met Joe, 22, on the streets on North London and asked him whether he had heard about Cybathlon. Joe said:
“I actually saw a bit about this on the BBC a few months ago! I’m glad it’s still pushing forward and yes it’s definitely something I want to know more about. I’ll try my best to watch some of it next year when it’s on TV.”
Looks like a clean sweep of interest in the championships next year.
We should probably thank Sam for beating the streets this afternoon and feeding back to us with comments on the championship, good work.
15.58 Not only have they entered. They’re excited.
The WHI team tweeted this dramatic video two days ago.
15.55 Enter Italy
A team from the University of Padova have entered Cybathlon. The International WHI team led by the IAS lab at the university have entered the BCI discipline and will compete against the Brainstormers. Game on.
15.50 More from Gray Matter
The pilot for Team Gray Matter will be a man called Pete, who is a tetraplegic. Here is Ivan’s update on the progress:
“Pete has been enjoying the process so far, and really understands the process much better now. Our technological leader is over in the UK, which has been great.
There have been a few complications with the hardware but we have broadened the number of people supporting the team and have secured lab space as well as hands-on technical support, so we are dealing with the situation as best we can.
We only secured sponsorship recently, through the UK law firm Irwin Mitchell. We feel like training and development is really underway now.”
15.46 Something for the Gray Matter
News from the team is that they have a new website. If you don’t know much about them they’re a team with members in Switzerland and the UK. Their pilot, Peter Gray, is based in Doncaster.
Check out their website here. (LL)
15.42 ICYMI here’s some of the stories that you might have missed from our site
We got hold of some data showing British soldiers in Afghanistan needed ten times the number of amputations than colleagues in Iraq.
Earlier this year we went to Colchester and visited Chavasse VC House to speak to Claire Worland from Help For Heroes about how Cybathlon might help injured servicemen.
If you want to know if there’s a team entering the competition near you, you should check out our interactive map of the teams.
Want to learn more about Cybathlon? We’ve made a Twitter list of the 10 best accounts to follow. Check it out here.
15.35 More from the road
24-year-old graduate Tom, who’s working in Shoreditch, told Sam:
“I always read about these kind of treatments for people who are really disabled but I never imagined it could be used for sport really. It sounds very interesting and is definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on.”
15.31 On that note…
Speaking of Ekso Bionics, it’s worth mentioning a bit about their technology. Our reporter Laura Lambert wrote in November that Ekso had helped people walk the equivalent of London to Kuala Lumpur using their equipment.
It’s also helped US war veterans return to normal life. Scott Pelley from CBS interviewed U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald and Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson.
Secretary McDonald told Pelley, ‘the best thing he’s seen is the exoskeleton’. While wearing this motorized suit, veteran Billy Woods has been able to walk on his own for the first time in four decades.
15.25 Exoskeletons developed for the military
The technology that will be on show at Cybathlon is also being developed for military application. It is thought that soldiers would be able to use exoskeletons to carry heavier loads, travel greater distances and aid movement.
A variety of companies are working on the technology including Ekso Bionics. (CT)
15.21 Exo entries
More news from the British contingent. Motion Robotics have entered the exoskeleton discipline. Dennis Majoe from the team, told us:
“When I first heard about Cybathlon from Professor Riener I thought ‘this is really what we need to a) challenge designers but b) provide a potentially sustainable market. I haven’t delved extremely deeply into the figures but the amount of spinal-cord injury people is a market that receives a lot of attention and a lot of support. It is still a valid market.”
15.16 Jonathan hasn’t given up
We’ve spoken quite a bit with Jonathan Brough, detailing his story, and that he was told he wouldn’t be allowed to compete.
Chatting to him this morning, he’s staying upbeat. He said:
“I’ve recently taken part in a race with people from lots of different countries and it was amazing. It was like I was on the run. If you fell behind the pace then you were out. I really enjoyed it.
15.10 An update from the streets
Sam has found another willing interviewee (probably on an extended lunch break). He’s spoken to Julie from Clapham. She said:
“I preferred the Paralympics in 2012 to the actual Olympics – I think people found that more inspirational than any sport they had seen before. At least my family did! So this sounds like something really exciting.”
15.00 Branding the Brainstormers
Last piece of news from the Brainstormers is they have a shiny new logo. If you want to follow them on Twitter, click here. (LL)
14.58 Who is the mystery man?
More news on that front is that we can name their pilot, as 28-year-old David Rose. Here is an excerpt from his statement about why he wanted to take part.
Well, 28 years ago I ended up as a wheelchair user after diving into a swimming pool and hitting my head on the bottom, breaking my neck at cervical level C5/6. That is now over half my life spent using a wheelchair rather than walking. This left me with limited arm movement, no hand or finger movement and no movement below the shoulders.
My life was obviously turned upside down in a split second! I spent six months in a Spinal Injuries Centre learning all about how to live a very different life and I was then back home in the “real world” again. This is when you learn about how it is easy to take even the simplest things for granted. Getting out of bed and getting dressed, simply picking up a glass. So many things are difficult or impossible to do.
I was reading an article about The Brainstormers Team and The Cybathlon on how a group of PHD students, from The University of Essex, were trying to “let you communicate without speaking or moving – meaning humans would be able to operate computers, robots or virtual reality environments using just neurosignals, even if they had no control of their muscles”. After reading this I just had to become involved.
And a photo of the team:
14.54 Brainstormers on a roll
While we’re on the topic of the Essex crew, Ana Matran-Fernandez has some exciting news to update us with:
“We finally found a pilot, and we received some good funding through a grant from the department, so I think for now we are covered.
We will be going to the mock race in July and are very excited to take part. We are really looking forward to it.” (LL)
14.49 Eye controlled apps?
You might remember we spoke to Essex based BCI team the Brainstormers in February where they explained their plan to take Cybathlon by storm.
Now they’ve built an app called Eye Wink that allows users to control their mobile phones by winking. PhD students Davide Valeriani and Ana Matran-Fernandez recently took part in Hack the Brain, the first UK Hackathon dedicated to projects related to the brain and won with their EyeWink project. They wrote in a blog:
“We were really proud that in such a short space of time our team had a good idea and a fully working prototype,” explained Ana.”
Following the success at Hack the Brain, Davide and Ana are now hoping to develop the project into a wearable wireless device (EyeWink) which can be used for a wide range of ways to control a smartphone using combinations of winks and blinks – from changing a song while running to locating a missing phone.
EyeWink will allow users to control their phones without their hands. In the future, Davide and Ana would like to develop it for people with mobility issues, such as those who have locked-in syndrome.
14.42 On our TV screens
Now onto the potential for Cybathlon to make it onto our televisions. We’ve just heard from Geoff Goodwin, executive producer at 40 partners. At present, 40 Partners is looking to co-develop a show with Twenty Twenty, led by Tim Carter.
Geoff says about Cybathlon:
“We want to develop a show to document the event and the human stories therein.
We think of Cybathlon as the world’s first bionic games. From a production point of view, the thing that makes it so exciting for us is that we are going to be able to show some of the greatest advances in new technologies.”
These technologies are going to be able to help people in a way that takes not just one or two steps, but it feels like a step-change moment for everybody. Not just for the people and pilots involved, but for the whole world.
It is an opportunity to show off these incredible technologies behind the scenes and then at Cybathlon itself on the world stage.
For me as a producer it is two-fold. It has all the hallmarks of an environment where there are going to be great human stories but secondly a great public service opportunity, to show the world how incredible these technologies are. Ultimately Cybathlon is about hope.” (LL)
14.37 In the news
Looking outside the realms of Cybathlon, but still very much in the field of bionics and technology, we have come across the following news stories.
First up, McDonalds will open up a store run by robots.
Second, the 3D printing show is on at the moment in east London. Check out the BBC tour, and see how it is being applied to prosthetics.
Lastly, man of the moment Professor Robert Riener has been interviewed by Robohub. Remember we interviewed Professor Riener in February. (LL)
14.33 Shadow Robot hands to be used in the kitchen
You might remember our interview with Rich Walker from Shadow Robot back in March where he told us about the work his company does.
Now they’ve developed a pair of robotic hands to help out in the kitchen. Created in conjunction with Moley Robotics, the hands are capable of interacting with kitchen equipment like blenders, knives and hobs. (CT)
14.25 ‘More impressive than Bridge’
In the first of his reports from the streets of London, Sam has spoken to 28-year-old John who lives in Clapham. He said:
“I’ve never heard of this link of technology being used for sport but why not? I think it’s certainly more impressive than some of the so-called sports you see nowadays, like Bridge which has just been classified as a sport”
14.20 Our roving reporter, Sam Dean, is on the ground talking to the public about Cybathlon and the technology behind it, he’ll be sending us updates across over the course of the afternoon with your views and opinion. (CT)
14.15 Berkel Bike explained
If you’d like to see how the Berkel Bike works, watch this YouTube clip:
14.12 What a Berkel Bike looks like
Here is a photo of Paul on a Berkel Bike at the Limb Power Games last weekend:
14.05 British team entry
First up is some exciting news of a new British team entry. Paul Moore, a former Paralympic athlete, is the CEO of ActiveLinx and they will be entering the FES Bike Race.
“I think our team will be called Berkel Bike UK, and we will be using the special bikes we manufacture.
We’ve got a group of Berkel Bike users who are potentially going to be very good pilots.
We will probably train a few of them up and then we are trying to get some testing at Loughborough University, in a sort of pedal-off, to get the best pilot.
The good thing about a bike like the Berkel Bike is that for me, as a paraplegic, I could have four active limbs!”
And we’re off. Welcome to the InsideCybathlon liveblog. Over the next few hours we’ll be bringing you updates from teams around the UK as well as the latest Cybathlon and robotics news, don’t forget to get in contact with us via Twitter at @InsideCybathlon (CT)
We’ll be bringing you the very latest from Jonathan Brough, the Brainstormers and more in just over an hour so make sure you stop by. (CT)
Good morning Cybathlon fans and welcome to our liveblog. Over the course of this afternoon we’ll be catching up with some of the people taking part in Cybathlon and rounding up all the news you might have missed.
Tune in from 2pm when the liveblog will start. (CT)