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Kaspersky fosters development of assistive technology sports

By supporting athletes at CYBATHLON 2020

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Riyadh – :

In line with its mission to bring on the future and ensure that technology provides opportunities for everyone, Kaspersky is supporting athletes at this year’s CYBATHLON 2020. The global championship will see people with physical disabilities compete against each other to undertake everyday tasks using state-​of-the-art technical assistance systems that promote inclusivity and diversity.

We live in a time where technology enables endless opportunities and improves our lives in many ways. Modern assistive technologies and devices which help people with physical disabilities are among them. They are developing rapidly, promoting inclusion and expanding the boundaries for people who need them most. CYBATHLON is more than a competition – it is a unique platform with the goal of creating a world without barriers. It offers a platform to advance research in the field of assistive technology and to promote a dialogue with the public about the inclusion of people with disabilities in everyday life.

The competition will bring together 54 teams from 21 countries who will compete in six disciplines:

  • The Brain-Computer Interface Race (BCI), where technology controls devices such as wheelchairs for people with limited movement;
  • The Functional Electrical Stimulation Bike Race (FES) which use a technique that allows paralyzed muscles to move again;
  • The Powered Arm Prosthesis Race (ARM), where arm prostheses – including the wrist – and can be navigated with any kind of control to overcome daily tasks;
  • The Powered Leg Prosthesis Race (LEG) which uses any kind of passive or active prosthetic device to overcome daily tasks;
  • The Powered Exoskeleton Race (EXO) where the exoskeleton is used to master everyday tasks;
  • The Powered Wheelchair Race (WHL) where wheelchairs that feature novel technologies are used to overcome obstacles, such as stairs or doors.

Each team consists of a technology developer and a person with physical disabilities (the pilot). Solving the respective tasks in a competition setting demonstrates how well each technology is suited to support the user in everyday life.

In future, such technologies could shift away from being purely support devices to becoming mainstream and used by consumers keen to extend the capabilities of the human body through a process called ‘cybernetization’. Earlier in 2020, Kaspersky found that nearly two-thirds of people in leading Western European countries would consider augmenting their body with technology to improve their lives and mostly to improve their health. Kaspersky believes that it is therefore important that these technologies are secure so that people can fully trust them, especially for those whom they are life-supporting.

In the upcoming CYBATHLON 2020 competitions Kaspersky will support team, Russia which will be represented by five teams and compete in five disciplines: Ortokosmos (LEG), Super Motorica (ARM), ExoAtlet (EXO), Neurobotics (BCI), and Caterwil (WHL). Spectators can follow all of the action live on www.cybathlon.com.

Due to the global pandemic the CYBATHLON 2020 competition is being held in a decentralized setting, with participating teams competing at remote locations. The teams will set up their own local infrastructures and join the competition from their home countries.

Beyond supporting the athletes, Kaspersky constantly pursues its research into the security of assistive devices and collaborating with high-tech companies focused on addressing the challenges faced by people with physical impairment. In 2018, Kaspersky started a partnership with Motorica – a high-tech start-up that develops bionic upper limb prostheses to assist people with disabilities – to assist them with cyber-resilience. This partnership has enabled Kaspersky and Motorica to achieve positive results, ensuring assistive devices are secure. Following the CYBATHLON 2020, Kaspersky will continue working with the teams offering them support and guidance when it comes to cybersecurity.

“Providing people with the opportunity to enjoy technological progress to its full potential has always been at the center of Kaspersky’s business. This is especially important for sensitive areas such as healthcare. However, along with opportunities, connected technologies bring a number of risks. We believe that collaboration between developers of advanced connected devices and the security industry is crucial for understanding and addressing device and system security issues and treating the security of devices as an integral and essential part of their development”, commented Andrey Doukhvalov, Head of Future Techs at Kaspersky.

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