Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Paralympian Gets Needed Support from 3D Printed Back Brace

ST Medical Devices

Share this Article

_MG_0050Being a Paralympian often means that people focus more on your stunning athleticism rather than any disability you possess. Unfortunately, sometimes the equipment available to help these athletes also acts as a hindrance rather than a support. Such was the case with Latvian wheelchair fencer Polina Rožkova, whose back brace was bulky and uncomfortable—not an acceptable situation when she was competing for the gold at the 2016 Paralympics.

Rožkova spent a significant amount of time trying out different braces in an effort to find one that wouldn’t make its presence something to overcome. Having heard about the impacts that 3D printing has made on the world of sports, she decided to investigate and find out if a 3D printed brace might be the solution she was looking for. She reached out to Baltic3D, the Latvian reseller of Stratasys, and together they began to develop an innovative new brace.

The first step in the brace’s development was to gather the data about Rožkova’s body that would allow it to be completely personalized. That data was worked in a new specialist WiDE software to create a design that could fit the exact form of the area of her middle spine, an area subject to intense stressors during the movements required by fencing. It was determined that Nylon 12 3D printing material would be the most suitable for fabrication because of the type of movements the brace would be subject to, as well as sweating that occurs during exertion. The final product was produced on a Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production 3D printer and Andy Middleton, the President of Stratasys EMEA, was very enthusiastic about the project:

“Polina’s story is one that embodies all the great things about 3D printing and its ability to truly shape lives. Being able to quickly 3D print low-cost solutions customized specifically to the person takes us away from a world where we settle for small, medium or large, giving consumers more options than ever before. We are extremely proud to be a part of this project and help Polina overcome a design challenge, allowing her to compete at the top. We wish her all the success in Rio this week.”

Polina-Rozkova

That’s right…the 2016 Paralympics are going on right now. Unfortunately, they often don’t get the press that they should, and we’re the ones missing out because some truly amazing feats of athleticism are occurring—such as the four visually impaired runners in the 1500 meter whose time beat every single runner of the event in this year’s Olympics. Not only are world records being broken but, as noted in this video, the opening ceremony featured a man rolling down a fiery mega ramp and then landing a flip in a wheelchair. Also at the opening ceremony was an incredible dance between a double-amputee snowboarder dancing in a 3D printed dress—with a robot.

Polina-Rožkova-Rio-Paralympics-business-wire-1024x683

In order to participate in these games and perform up to her abilities, this custom back brace for Rožkova was vital. She expressed her delight with the product:

rendered_look2“Throughout my years as a professional wheelchair fencer, I have been looking for an alternative, and most importantly, sports-appropriate lower back brace to allow me to fence and move freely without any restraints or pain. As the sport puts a lot of strain on the lower back, I also needed a support that could be replaced easily if it broke during training or competition. I’m ecstatic with the result – not only is the 3D printed back brace visually appealing, but it gives me a level of freedom unparalleled to anything I have ever used before. I feel better equipped than ever to achieve my goals.”

Discuss further in the 3D Printed Brace for Paralympian Fencer forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: Business Wire]

 

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing Robots Receive €1 Million Boost

3D Printing People: A Dialogue Beyond Industry at TIPE 2022



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: January 16, 2022

We’re back in business this week with plenty of webinars and events, both virtual and in-person, starting with the second edition of the all-female-speaker TIPE 3D Printing conference. There are...

Women in 3D Printing’s Posts Agenda for TIPE Conference and Virtual Career Fair

This January 18-20, Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) is back for the second time in a row with its TIPE 3D Printing Conference and Virtual Career Fair. Like its inaugural...

Women in 3D Printing Onboards New President

As the nonprofit celebrates seven years of supporting women in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry, Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP) has taken on a new leader. Kristin Mulherin is taking...

3D Printing Trade Show Best Practices: Food and Food for Thought

This is the third installment of ideas, suggestions, and best practices for your 3D printing stand from an interested observer. We previously discussed booth location and how best to connect...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.