BFH at the Cybathlon

BFH is planning to enter three teams in the Cybathlon 2024. In this unique international contest, people with physical disabilities compete against each other in tackling various everyday tasks, supported by state-of-the-art assistive technology systems.

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.

There are eight disciplines in all. The races are designed to reflect activities encountered in everyday life. This is done to show how well the various technologies are suited to assisting the user in everyday life.

  • Arm Prosthesis Race
  • Assistance Robot Race
  • Vision Assistance Race
  • Brain-Computer Interface Race
  • Exoskeleton Race
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race
  • Leg Prosthesis Race
  • Wheelchair Race

The BFH teams

After BFH entered one team in 2016 and two teams in 2020, three teams will be competing in 2024.

Name Team BFH-CybaTrike
Discipline FES – Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race
Head of team Kenneth Hunt
Team member Efe Anil Aksöz
Pilot*in tbd
Previous rankings 3rd place (2016), 4th place (2020)

The BFH-CybaTrike team, led by Kenneth Hunt, is taking part in the Cybathlon for the third time in 2024, in the discipline ‘FES – Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race’. The CybaTrike is a recumbent trike that people with complete paralysis of the lower limbs can propel by their own muscle power. This involves attaching electrodes to the skin, which conduct electrical impulses to the paralysed leg muscles and thus activate them. The timing of the activation is controlled by sensors on the pedal crank arm. With feedback from these sensors and the pre-set activation positions, the system knows the precise position of the rider’s legs and the corresponding muscles can be stimulated in a targeted manner. The level of stimulation and thus the degree of activation is controlled by the trike pilot via a throttle on the handlebar.

Name Team BFH-Hand-X
Discipline ARM – Arm Prosthesis Race
Head of team Gerhard Kuert
Team member(s) tbd
Pilot tbd
Previous ranking 5th place (2020)

At the Institute for Human Centered Engineering HuCE, the development of a feedback system for a ‘feeling’ prosthesis, which partially restores the sense of touch, has been underway since 2014. This system is able to distinguish rough surface textures, the hardness or even the density of a (soft) object, and more besides. The team around Gerhard Kuert took part in the Cybathlon for the first time in 2020.

Name Team BFH-FAIR
Discipline ROB – Assistance Robot Race
Head of team Gabriel Gruener
Project staff
Pilot Gabriela Pozzi 

Reserve pilot : Fritz Eichholzer

The interdisciplinary team BFH-FAIR with researchers and students from the School of Engineering & Computer Science and the School of Health Professions will compete in the Cybathlon for the first time in 2024, in the Assistance Robot Race, a newly created discipline. The pilot is 62-year-old Gabriela Pozzi from Ennetbaden. She has been a quadriplegic since a bicycle accident in 2009, but thanks to multiple operations she can perform simple manual activities that require little strength, such as operating a switch or shaking hands. An assistive robot has great potential to increase her autonomy. At Cybathlon, Gabriela will use her robot to solve tasks, avoid obstacles and recognise, and manipulate various objects.

Cybathlon – Challenges 2023

On 29 March 2023, the Cybathlon Challenges will take place for the second time. Teams are invited to compete and showcase their current technology and piloting skills in a selected task of their discipline. From BFH, the team BFH-FAIR will compete in the discipline «Assistance robot race».

A look back...

Impressionen - Cybathlon