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作者: 来源: 日期:2016-09-14 8:32:08

Olympian achievements await robotic prosthetics





Perfectly honed bodies, controlled by perfectly composed minds, will tomorrow officially begin living the motto of the Olympic Games: citius, altius, fortius (faster, higher, stronger). Such is the extreme physical aptitude on display that sofa-bound spectators might be left wondering whether Olympians are perhaps some kind of alien superspecies.

奥运会上,在绝对冷静的头脑控制下的经过完美训练的身体,践行着奥运会的格言:“更快,更高,更强”(citius, altius, fortius)。奥运会选手展示出的极高的身体素质,或许会让窝在沙发里的观众们惊叹,这些人会不会是某种外星超级物种?广州会议翻译公司。


The sentiment is misplaced: an average, functioning human body is itself a masterpiece of engineering, something a fact most apparent when things go wrong. That sofa-bound spectator — let us imagine her sitting down on a sofawith her feet up enjoying tea and a biscuit — is unwittingly accomplishing feats of motor control and co-ordination that are almost impossible to replicate using robotics. Scientists who develop prostheses struggle to make artificial limbs that work as well as their natural counterparts, a. This is the challenge that underpins an alternative Olympic-style event taking place in Zurich in October.



The Cybathlon, billed as the first cy­borg Olympics, is no faux Paralympics: the stars of the show will be the cutting-edge assistive technologies on display, not the disabled humans to which they are attached. Aspiring cy­clists, for example, will pedal by having their muscles electrically stimulated. By contrast, Para­lympians compete under their own muscular steam, using only commercially available devices.



At the Cybathlon more than 80 research groups drawn from 25 countries will battle it out at Zurich’s ice hockey stadium. It is not the usual sporting fare. Competitors vying in the prosthetic arm event will not be making wobbly attempts at the shot put; instead, theywill prepare a meal and hang washing on a line. Those in the prosthetic leg event will navigate stairs, uneven floors and doorways.



Perhaps the most unusual event, reports the journal Nature, is a test of brain-computer interfaces: 15 competitors will try to move a screen character with their minds (or, rather, with brain activity). Three distinct manoeuvres — accelerate, jump and roll — are needed to complete the onscreen obstacle course, with each move requiring a specific pattern of brain activity.



Similar technology could eventually allow paralysed individuals to guide their wheelchairs using thought alone. Earlier This year, researchers in the US showed that monkeys implanted with brain devices could control a wheelchair in this way.



The Cybathlon is the brainchild design of Professor Robert Riener, a biomedical engineer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who wanted to make people aware that while life-changing technology exists in the laboratory it was not reaching those who needed it.

Cybathlon的构思者是瑞士联邦理工学院苏黎世分校(Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich)生物医学工程师罗伯特•里纳(Robert Riener)教授,他想让人们意识到,尽管实验室中存在能够改变人生的科技,但这些科技并没有造福于那些需要的人们。


He considered organising stunts such as mountain climbing with prosthetic limbs but changed his mind after realising that it was ordinary activities that wearers of prosthetic limbs found most challenging. For example, mimicking the incredible strength and flexibility of human fingers — which can both crush a can and hold an egg without breaking it — has for decades been the dream of biomedical engineers. Yet many artificial hands still largely comprise hooks and cables.



One company feeling its way to success is Open Bionics, a crowdfunded start-up that started founded in a Bristol bedroomthat uses 3D printing to make relatively cheap, advanced artificial hands that can grip eggs. The company is now designing film-inspired prostheses for children, such as the Iron Man hand.

一家有望取得成功的公司是Open Bionics。这是一家通过众筹成立的初创企业,使用3D打印技术制造相对廉价、先进、能够握住鸡蛋的人工假手。该公司正以电影为灵感来源——如《钢铁侠》(Iron Man)的手——设计面向儿童的假肢。


The Cybathlon does exactly what technology competitions are supposed to do: it attracts big players while wink­ling out smaller outfits flying under the radar. There is already a buzz around one competitor’s cut-price 3D-printed exoskeleton with windscreen-wiper motors for joints. Contests also encourage engineers to push their not-quite-perfect creations out of the lab and into the real world. There are nearly 2m amputees in the US alone, and millions more worldwide who have lost limbs to cancer, diabetes, trauma and war. They want progress, not perfection.



The writer is a science commentator




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