Press release

Dialogue on diversity and inclusion: showcasing the latest technology of wheelchairs at CYBATHLON Series

26 April 2019

The CYBATHLON Wheelchair Series Japan 2019, a competition in which people with physical disabilities compete against each other to complete everyday tasks using the latest technical assistance systems, will take place on May 5, 2019 in Kawasaki, Japan.

London | Tokyo, 26 April 2019

Climbing up the stairs, opening a door, sitting at the table are actions that many of us take for granted in everyday life. But how would you do it if you are in a wheelchair? CYBATHLON was launched as a platform for exchange between people with disabilities, technology providers and the public in order to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those with disabilities and to promote and develop the latest in assistive technologies. The CYBATHLON Wheelchair Series Japan 2019, will be held between May 5 – May 6, 2019, sponsored by BMC, part of Springer Nature. 

A unique international championship, CYBATHLON sees engineers and people with disabilities called “pilots”, collaborate from the development stage to produce the latest in assisted technology prototypes, then compete against global teams to carry out daily tasks safely, securely and correctly. CYBATHLON Wheelchair Series Japan 2019 will see teams from Japan, Switzerland, Russia, and Hong Kong, compete against each other across one of the competitions six disciplines – powered wheelchair, testing out and using the latest state-of-the-art technical assistance systems. The other five disciplines include Brain-Computer Interface Race, Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race, Powered Arm Prosthesis Race, Powered Leg Prosthesis Race and Powered Exoskeleton Race, and will be taking place across other regions, with the full CYBATHLON taking place in Switzerland in 2020.

The 5 teams from Japan that will be participating in this competition will be The University of Tokyo, Keio University, Wakayama University, Osaka Electro-Communication University, and the Chiba Institute of Technology.

Alongside this year’s competition, a scientific symposium will also be held at the KCCI Hall in Kawasaki, where engineers and team leaders will introduce their latest research in the field of assistive technology. Speakers include Professor Robert Riener of ETH Zurich, Eiichi Saito of the Fujita Health University, and Dr. Garrett Grindle of the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Roland Sigrist, Executive Director of CYBATHLON, said: “Inclusion means freedom of choice. CYBATHLON is a unique and emotional competition which promotes the development of different assistive technologies and fascinates people all over the world. CYBATHLON provides a platform for people to connect and progress towards a more inclusive world.

This international event provides a global platform to drive forward research on assistive technologies for everyday use, remove barriers between the public, those with disabilities and technology developers and to stimulate discussion on inclusion, equality and practical use of the technologies being developed to best support their users.

Alison Mitchell, Managing Director of Journals at Springer Nature, said: “Diversity and inclusion are central to our ethos at Springer Nature. As a publisher, we also have an important role in research communication, bringing research findings to global communities where they can have a direct and positive impact. Having recently launched our Disabled Employee Network, we are proud to be able to collaborate with CYBATHLON -- learning more about the practicalities of living with disabilities, and directly supporting engineers in the application of cutting-edge research on assisted technologies to develop prototypes that will enhance the quality of life for those living with disabilities.”


BMC, which is part of Springer Nature, will be sponsoring this event with support from the following 4 journals: BMC Biomedical Engineering, BMC Mechanical Engineering, Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, BioMedical Engineering OnLine, which publishes research related to this event.

Robert Riener, professor of Sensory-Motor Systems at ETH Zurich, initiated the CYBATHLON in 2013 as a platform for the development of everyday-suitable assistance systems. Under the umbrella of ETH Zurich, the CYBATHLON is run as a non-profit project, which aims to break down barriers between the public, people with disabilities and technology developers by organizing unique competitions. The competitions are organized as a public event and cover the following six disciplines: Brain Computer Interface, Functional Electrical Stimulation, Powered Arm Prosthesis, Powered Leg Prosthesis, Powered Exoskeleton and Powered Wheelchair Races. The word CYBATHLON originates from 'cyber' (computers) and 'athlon' (contest).

For more information, please visit Cybathlon Series, and CYBATHLON ETH Zurich

A pioneer of open access publishing, BMC has an evolving portfolio of high quality peer-reviewed journals including broad interest titles such as BMC Biology and BMC Medicine, specialist journals such as Malaria Journal and Microbiome, and the BMC Series. At BMC, research is always in progress. We are committed to continual innovation to better support the needs of our communities, ensuring the integrity of the research we publish, and championing the benefits of open research. BMC is part of Springer Nature, giving us greater opportunities to help authors connect and advance discoveries across the world.

For over 175 years Springer Nature has been advancing discovery by providing the best possible service to the whole research community. We help researchers uncover new ideas, support librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data, and provide quality publishing support to societies.  We make sure all the research we publish is significant, robust and stands up to objective scrutiny, that it reaches all relevant audiences in the best possible format, and can be discovered, accessed, used, re-used and shared.  

As a research publisher, Springer Nature is home to trusted brands including Springer, Nature Research, BMC, Palgrave Macmillan and Scientific American. Springer Nature is also a leading educational and professional publisher, providing quality content through a range of innovative platforms, products and services. Every day, around the globe, our imprints, books, journals and resources reach millions of people.

For more information, please visit and @SpringerNature.

CYBATHLON Wheelchair Series Japan 2019 | Media

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Springer Nature
Ayako Miyazaki
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