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On October 26-27, 2024, Dr. Jaimie Borisoff and the BCIT MAKE+ 2024 CYBATHLON Team will compete in the prestigious CYBATHLON in Zurich, Switzerland.

This international competition draws hundreds of engineers and technologists from around the world to tackle everyday challenges using innovative assistive technologies. With their sights set on the wheelchair race, the MAKE+ Team aims to showcase innovative advancements in mobility solutions for individuals with disabilities.

For the MAKE+ Team, participating in the CYBATHLON aligns perfectly with their mission and expertise. Dr. Borisoff, a former Canadian Research Chair in Rehabilitation Engineering Design at BCIT and current Director of the MAKE+ applied research team, has devoted his career to improving accessibility and mobility for individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI). His research focuses on improving lives through dynamic wheeled mobility, adapted exercise machines, and other assistive technologies.

What is the CYBATHLON?

The CYBATHLON, a non-profit initiative by ETH Zurich, is more than just a competition. It is a platform dedicated to breaking down barriers between the public, people with disabilities, and technology developers. Teams from across the globe come together with a shared vision: to create a world without barriers. The event challenges participants to develop assistive technologies that enable individuals with physical disabilities to perform everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces with a robotic arm or navigating uneven terrain with an exoskeleton.

Since its inception in 2016, the CYBATHLON has grown to include over 100 teams from more than 30 countries competing in 10 categories. The competition highlights the challenges faced by people with disabilities and demonstrates how cutting-edge technology can help overcome these obstacles.

The Wheelchair Race

Overcoming uneven terrain and stairs with a wheelchair

People who use a powered wheelchair for personal mobility are often confronted with challenges in their daily lives. Individual steps, flights of stairs, or uneven terrain can pose big obstacles. Depending on a wheelchair user’s function of the trunk and arms, it can also be very difficult to open and close a door or to pick up an object from the ground. Users must often rely on help from a third party to overcome such situations. Recently, technologies such as stair-climbing mechanisms have been developed to provide support in some of the situations mentioned above. However, these technologies are often developed for specific tasks only and their function cannot be applied to other situations. The addition of technologies such as stair-climbing mechanisms to powered wheelchairs has the promising potential to improve the personal mobility of people with a severe walking disability in daily life.

Meet the Team

Team Pilot

Dr. Jaimie Borisoff

Dr. Jaimie Borisoff focuses on improving accessibility and mobility for people with SCI through dynamic wheeled mobility and rehabilitation engineering design. He envisions merging relatively simple current wheelchair functions with advanced technologies like robotics.

Learn more about Jaimie
Team Leader

Garrett Kryt

Garrett Kryt holds a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from BCIT and a Master’s in Mechatronics Systems Engineering from Simon Fraser University. His work includes designing power-assist wheelchair systems and power wheelchair controls using innovative interfaces like the Wii U remote.

Learn more about Garrett

Rory Dougall

Rory Dougall is a mechanical engineering technologist from BCIT with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, Rory combines his skills in SolidWorks/CAD and prototype fabrication to develop and test assistive technologies. His interests include biomedical engineering, green design, and biomimicry.

Learn more about Rory

Joe Newton

Joe Newton is renowned for the breadth and strength of both his technical and leadership skills, which have touched projects ranging from cutting-edge medical devices and atom-cooling control circuits to green roof technologies and robotic control systems. A graduate of both the Bachelor in Technology Management and Diploma of Technology in Robotics and Automation programs at BCIT, Joe also holds ASTTBC certification, Red Seal Certification as an electrician, and an internationally-endorsed marine engineering 2nd Class Ticket from Transport Canada—which he also received through training at BCIT.

Supporting Team

The MAKE+ team’s race to the CYBATHLON is lead by the individuals above, but would not be possible without the support of many other individuals including the entire MAKE+ team and a number of students working on pieces of this project through engineering capstone projects.

Learn more about MAKE+