Wheelchair Race

People with a severe walking disability who uses a powered wheelchair for personal mobility are often confronted with challenges when interacting with their physical environment. Single steps, flights of stairs, or uneven terrain can pose significant obstacles. Depending on a user’s function of the trunk and arms it can also be very arduous to open/close a door or to pick up an object from the ground. Users often must rely on the help of a third person to overcome such situations.

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Wheelchair Race Tasks

Restaurant, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

1. Restaurant

Powered wheelchairs are often too bulky to fit under a standard table, yet this is critical for social interaction (i.e., in a restaurant, at home, or at work). Pilots should be able to drive close to a table in such a way that the thighs of the pilot fit below the tabletop.

In this task, the pilots have to navigate their wheelchairs so that half of their thighs are placed under a table without moving any furniture.

Stairs, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

2. Stairs

Stairs are very common in daily life, both in the private and public spaces. In this task, pilots must ascend and descend a straight staircase.

Pilots must bring their wheelchairs to a standstill while on the ascent and descent from the stairs to show that they can stop at any time.

Pick Up, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

3. Pick Up

Small items that are randomly lying around (e.g., a child’s toys) can obstruct a wheelchair user’s path. He or she might want to pick up the objects to either use them or stow them away.

In this task, the pilots must pick up a bottle from the floor and place it on a table.

Tilted Path, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

4. Tilted Path

Driving on a path that is tilted perpendicular to the direction of travel can be very challenging for wheelchair users. Continuous steering is required to prevent the wheelchair from turning in the direction of the tilt. Such tilts can occur on sidewalks, but also when on a nature path.

In this task, the pilot must negotiate a tilted path.

Uplift, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

5. Uplift

Many challenging situations arise in daily life for wheelchair users due to their seated position. For example, it is impossible to reach for objects that are located on the top shelves in a store, it is difficult to interact with staff at a standard counter, or to look someone in the eyes when having a conversation. 

In this task, pilots and their assistive devices are challenged to reach an object above the level of sitting height.

Crowd, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

6. Crowd

Often in daily life, it is necessary to navigate around static or moving obstacles to reach a desired destination. When moving in dynamic crowds, in particular, constant control of direction and speed is required to avoid collisions.

In this task, pilots must pass between individual pieces of furniture. In addition, collisions with several robots that are roaming the task space must be avoided.

Winding Stairs, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

7. Winding Stairs

Winding stairs can be found both in the private and public spaces. They pose a particular challenge to the stair-climbing mechanisms of wheelchairs since the slope of the stairs depends on the selected path and varies between the sides of the wheelchair.

In this task, pilots must climb and descend a flight of winding stairs.

Door, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

8. Door

Opening and closing doors is challenging for a wheelchair user. There are different mechanisms to open the door (e.g., door handle or doorknob) and not all doors require the same amount of force to push or pull them open. 

In this task, pilots must open, pass through, and close a door using an external robotic manipulator. 

Stony Path, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

9. Rocky Terrain

Paths in nature are often uneven and rough. Powered wheelchairs must be able to cope with such terrain such that their users are not restricted during recreational outdoor activities.

In this task, pilots and their assistive devices are challenged to navigate a stony path with their wheelchairs.

Doorstep, Wheelchair Race Task | © CYBATHLON

10. Doorstep

Crossing the doorstep is often the first step when entering a building or room. They come in many different sizes (main door, terrace, boat door, etc.), and it is often decided at the doorstep if a wheelchair user can enter or leave a building at all. Powered wheelchairs should therefore be able to negotiate a wide variety of doorsteps.

In this task, pilots and their devices are challenged to negotiate a doorstep.

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