Cybathlon Challenges: Team BFH-FAIR takes 2nd place

04.04.2023 On 29 March, it was time to get serious for Team BFH-FAIR: at the Cybathlon Challenges, it competed against two other teams in the category assistance robot race. BFH-FAIR is very satisfied with its performance.

Two tasks, two rounds and a race against time: at the Cybathlon Challenges on 29 March 2023, team BFH-FAIR was able to test its assistance robot system in competition mode for the first time, competing against team RSL from ETH-Zurich and team EDAN from the German Aerospace Centre. The latter team has been working on the development of an assistance robotics system for years. Gabriela Pozzi, pilot of the BFH-FAIR team, had to grasp an apple with the help of her assistance robot, guide it to her mouth and put it down again, and move objects of various shapes. In the first round, a small software glitch meant that the pilot was unable to complete either task successfully. Round two then began promisingly: Gabriela Pozzi mastered the first task in only 54 seconds – the best time of the competition. However, time was too short for the second task and the 62-year-old did not manage to finish it. As a result, BFH-FAIR achieved second place.

Valuable exchange with other teams

"Participating in the challenges was a very positive experience," says team leader Gabriel Gruener after the competition. "We built our system in only three months with components from our lab shelves and programmed it with very simple algorithms. Gabi was only able to train with it three times – but it worked very well: We can solve the two Cybathlon tasks, just not fast enough yet. Now we have enough time until October 2024 to realise all our ideas, develop the system further and train with it." He also found the exchange with the other teams on site very valuable. "We are all pursuing the same goal: to develop technologies that simplify the everyday lives of people with disabilities and give them more autonomy".

What is the Cybathlon?

The Cybathlon is a non-profit project by ETH Zurich that challenges teams of developers from universities, companies, and NGOs from all over the world to develop assistive technologies suitable for everyday use, with and for people with disabilities.

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