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Technology

How Long Until the Cyborg Olympics Are Better Than the Traditional Games? (ieee.org) 60

the_newsbeagle writes: In October 2016, a stadium in Zurich will host the world's first cyborg Olympics. During this event, more officially called the Cybathlon, people with disabilities will use advanced technologies such as exoskeletons and powered prosthetic limbs to compete in the games. This article chronicles one team's training for the bicycle race, where the athletes will be people with paralyzed legs. The team is composed of the paralyzed biker who has an electrical stimulation system implanted in his body, and the engineers who built the gear that energizes his nerves and muscles.
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How Long Until the Cyborg Olympics Are Better Than the Traditional Games?

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  • In snowmobile racing, they used to have "stock" and "supermod" classes. I've always thought the Olympics should do the same and have separate events for those people willing to undergo harmful body modifications in order to win -- no drug testing necessary!
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      And somehow the honor system will make sure the athletes in the "unenhanced" category will not use drugs?

    • +1 great idea, but the super-mods will get all the $ponsor$hip$.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I've always thought that if they just didn't do drug testing *at all* what would happen is that athletes would take more and more aggressive substances until people started dying in competition and/or former athletes were impossibly sick.

      Once it reached that point, the athletes themselves would just refuse all but the most demonstrably benign performance enhancements and we'd mostly be back to where we are now (which IMHO is take what you can get away with, and mostly this means taking stuff that is benign

    • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

      In snowmobile racing, they used to have "stock" and "supermod" classes. I've always thought the Olympics should do the same and have separate events for those people willing to undergo harmful body modifications in order to win -- no drug testing necessary!

      I think that's nominally the setting of a Niven/Barnes novel called "Achilles Choice."

  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @06:04PM (#51146541) Homepage
    I have ocular implants and adjustable, augmented hearing. Is that enough to make me a cyborg? If not, why not, and how much more would it take?
  • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @06:07PM (#51146559)

    All depends on how you define "better". Faster, further, higher? Soonish, if events are exact same-same. Some events like trap shooting a disability may not matter - I've seen a guy in a wheel chair keep up with the pros. Some like perhaps the high jump I'd almost expect them to do it kinda soonish - it becomes a matter of engineering. If you look at Olympic vs. Paralympic record - I picked 200m men's sprint - you can see some times that are getting *very* close to Usian Bolt's 9.30 second time from the 2008 games.

  • They shouldn't call such a thing an 'olympics' of any sort, because there's no real athleticism involved; it's more like a technology demonstration, and has more in common with 'Battlebots' than it does the Olympics.

    Of course that being said, the Olympics, anymore, are more about world politics than they are about athleticism anyway.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      They shouldn't call such a thing an 'olympics' of any sort, because there's no real athleticism involved; it's more like a technology demonstration, and has more in common with 'Battlebots' than it does the Olympics.

      Of course that being said, the Olympics, anymore, are more about world politics than they are about athleticism anyway.

      This.

      It's nice as a tech demo, but I wouldn't put much value in the results because really, it's just which country can spend the most money. And after a few times of it being b

      • by afgam28 ( 48611 )

        I was under the impression that the Olympics is already a competition of which country can spend the most on training facilities for its athletes:

        http://www.bbc.com/news/busine... [bbc.com]
        http://www.yellowfinbi.com/YFC... [yellowfinbi.com]

        Since it's always going to be about who can spend the most either way, I don't see why an engineering competition is any less interesting than an athletic competition.

        Motorsports (Formula One, Le Mans) are already like this, and I find it interesting because you get to see engineers push the boundar

    • Bender: Now Wireless Joe Jackson, there was a blern hitting machine!

      Leela: Exactly! He was a machine designed to hit blerns! I mean come on! Wireless Joe was nothing but a programmable bat on wheels.

      Bender: Oh and I suppose Pitch-o-Mat 5000 was just a modified howitzer.

      Leela: Yep.

  • Will we end up with the same issues regarding finances, hosting, and sponsorships? Will we end up with cities and states shelling out big bucks for empty promises and artists being sued for using anything closely resembling the logos in their artwork?
  • Will the proud people of Robonia be represented? I kind of have a thing for Coilette.

  • Amateur instead of professionals, i.e. people that are really into sport but they have a non-sport day job. However, they are so good that others are willing to pay their room and board so these competitors can spend more time training. Each country selects the best amateur competitors to represent the best of the country's common people. (if you are already a professional sports player, sorry, you already have world cup and series competitions)
  • Performance, popularity, etc? If it ever did become really popular I think there would just be so many rules and regulations regarding the technology you can use that it would make it all pretty boring. Keep it unregulated and I think it would be interesting.
    • Enter the story of the athlete cutting off their legs to compete in the now popular cyborg Olympics. Or the "jockey" that is just a brain in a jar to get the weight of the robot down. I am all for it.
    • Performance, popularity, etc?

      Smog and polluted water won't be a problem.

  • Mmmm, how about now?

  • by Oloryn ( 3236 ) on Friday December 18, 2015 @07:56PM (#51147193)

    Given how commercialized and tied up in monopolies the traditional games are, isn't trying to be better than the tradional games setting the bar pretty low?

  • It has already happened.
  • There are (reasonably) clear expectations on what is allowable in the Olympics. No enhancements, no doping (although supplements are a bit of a grey area). There is a little bit of arbitrariness required to make clear rules. But it's nowhere as bad as in Cyborg Olympics. Where's the limit? We can't have rocket cars with a little bit of human DNA thrown in there competing in the 100m dash. How do you clearly define what a cyborg is in a way that will hold up in light of rapidly increasing technology?

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