September 2016

3D PRINTING SET TO DEBUT AT 2016 PARALYMPICS

3D PRINTING SET TO DEBUT AT 2016 PARALYMPICS

As well as making its first ever appearance in South America, the Paralympics will soon witness the first athlete to use a 3D-printed prosthetic at the Games.

Germany’s Denise Schindler, who claimed the silver medal in the women’s road race four years ago in London, will compete at this year’s Games with a 3D-printed prosthetic leg.

The 2016 Paralympic Games, which recently got underway in Rio de Janeiro, comes less than a month after the Olympic Games came to an end.

The event will not only showcase the ability of over 4,000 competitors, it will also play host to a whole new generation of prosthetics. Following on from a sensational Games in London four years ago, athletes will be looking to go even better this time around in Brazil.

One of those will be Schindler, who is expected to be one of the favourites to take away the gold medal four years after finishing with the silver medal. The 30-year old, whose right leg was amputated just below the knee when she was a child, will be using her new custom prosthetic when she begins the women’s road race – making the most of some of the huge advancements that have taken place over the past few years.

While Schindler previously used a handmade, carbon fibre leg that was then specifically adapted to fit her bicycle pedal. This year, though, Schindler will be using a polycarbonate, 3D-printed leg, one which has been specifically designed to the German cyclist’s needs and will hopefully now help her win gold in Rio.

Schindler’s previous prosthetic took more than 10 weeks to produce, costing a significant amount of money. Her new one, though, was designed, refined and then produced in the space of just five days, costing a fraction of the price of the carbon fibre and outperforming it in terms of stability and speed.

“The new technology is great for me, but my big goal is really to open up the sports world for the average amputated person. It makes a big difference if you have been amputated and you still have the chance to be active, to be self-confident, to enjoy life and not to give up,” said Schindler.

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