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Why do we participate to the Cybathlon?

A simple question, many answers

Technology to help people

For us as researchers, the Cybathlon is a unique opportunity to take us one step closer to our dream. As researchers we aim to develop technologies which actually help people and allows them to exploit their full potential. Years of robotics research has now brought us to this point: escaping the lab with our work and helping people.

Take the technology a step further

The Cybathlon helps our researchers develop novel insights and knowledge by forcing them to work closely together with the end-users and to think about the hurdles these users face in their daily lives. No theoretical models and designs, but solution oriented and robust prototypes who can cope with the many challenges provided by the Cybathlon. No far away clinical trials, but real time feedback from experienced users.

Showcase to the world

Of course, the Cybathlon gives us a unique chance to show to the world what we are busy doing in our labs. We want to show that the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Belgium as a whole are world leaders in the field of robotics. 

Welcome to the real world

Marvellous and even truly magical things are happening at our universities, however these remain locked up inside the campus walls too often. Participating to the Cybathlon allows us to show what we do to a large audience and serves as a showcase to potential research partners. But perhaps even more importantly, it allows us to further develop several prototypes and bring them a step closer to the market. 

Motivation and inspiration

Finally, the Cybathlon can be an inspiration for us all. Both for the researchers and students who have dedicated large parts of their lives to developing robotics to help people, but equally to the outside world: from encouraging youngsters to become an engineer or a scientist to giving hope to people with disabilities. We truly hope our Cybathlon story can become a source of inspiration and aspiration.

The Cybathlon is not the finish line

It is necessary to stress that the Cybathlon is in no ways a finish line for us. We have been busy in the domain of human robotics for several years, and will continue to do so after October 2016. We will continue to strive towards bringing our robotic assistive devices to the people who need them and further improve them so that they can indeed one day make a difference in someones life. All the knowledge, energy and resources going into our Cybathlon adventure will continue to bear their fruits in the near future.

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