The world's first Cybathlon, a sporting competition designed for bionic athletes, is set to take place in Zurich in 2016.

While current parathletic events allow athletes to use prosthetics to get to the same sporting capacity as able-bodied participants, the Cybathlon will actively encourage the use and development of pioneering robotic technology.

Prizes will be awarded to both the winning athletes in each event and to the company behind the software or technological device used.

Organized on behalf of the Swiss National Competence Center of Research in Robotics (NCCR Robotics), the competition is open to technology already available on the market, or to research development projects by laboratories.

Six separate events will be open to athletes -- a BCI (Brain Computer Interface) race, an FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation) bike race, a leg prosthetics race, a powered exoskeleton race, a powered wheelchair race and an arm prosthetics race.

"The rules of the competition are made in such way that the novel technology will give the pilot an advantage over a pilot that would use a comparable but less advanced or conventional assistive technology," explains the event's website.

"There will be as few technical constraints as possible, in order to encourage the device providers to develop novel and powerful solutions."

Cybathlon will run from October 8, 2016.