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Published: 17 October 2016

Landmark medal for Surrey’s Ana

Congratulations to Surrey masters graduate Ana Matran-Fernandez who has won a bronze medal in the world’s first ‘bionic Olympics – Cybathlon.

Cybathlon highlighted how people with physical disabilities can be helped by novel technological aids in their everyday activities. The event, which attracted 50 teams from around the world, involved individuals competing side-by-side in six demanding disciplines, using the latest assistive technologies including electronic arms and legs, robotic exoskeletons, powered wheelchairs, electrical muscle stimulations and brain-computer interfaces.

Ana lead a team of researchers, the Brainstormers, from the University of Essex in the Brain Computer Interface Race where ‘pilots’ had to control a video game just with their thoughts.

The Brainstormers ‘pilot’ was David Rose, who was paralysed from the shoulders down 29 years ago when he broke his neck in a diving accident. His race involved him moving an avatar in a computer game using thought commands. He wore a special cap covered in electrodes which recorded the signals from the brain and sent them to the computer, where they were interpreted as commands.

Ana, who graduated in biomedical engineering in 2011, said: “We are very happy that all the hard work has paid off and I want to thank all the BrainStormers team for their involvement. It has been a real pleasure to take part in such an amazing event and I’d like to thank the organisers of Cybathlon for their efforts and congratulate them on the result - pushing technology further through a flawless competition.”

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