Cutting Across all sectors, 3D leaves its mark on the Paralympics

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The paralympic event is a birthplace for innovation and creativity.

Multiple individuals are looking for the next best thing.
In recent years,
3d printing has been that tool driving innovation and creativity and is sought after by paralympic athletes.

With a diverse range of abilities and multiple categories, the Paralympics offers the best.
Participants use prosthetics,

Wheelchairs and other specialised items enable them to perform at their very best.

The cost of custom made equipment, as well as designs,

May be suited to typical athletes but not to Paralympics.
A question most try to answer is whether or not 3D printing helps broaden or narrow the divide between athletes with specialised equipment,
And those without.

In layman terms, does an availability in 3D printers which can be found in numerous places including maker spaces helps to bridge that divide?

Custom made equipment are often difficult time-consuming and expensive to create,
This will almost most assuredly limit access to athletes or lead to a “do it yourself solution”,
That might not be as advanced as professionally made equipment.

Custom made equipment can be 3D printed at the most cost-effective price.
Notable ex Paralympians such as British triathlete Joe Townsend and American athlete Arielle Rausin use 3D printing to make Bespoke gloves for themselves and fellow athletes,

These custom made gloves are made as the situation requires several different materials for different scenarios.
The beauty of 3D bespoke equipment is they can be rapidly created and reprinted according to the athlete’s specifications even if they break.

The design is entirely digital and can be modified like a photo and video even if broken or worn out if sent to the nearest 3D printer available.

An all Round Better Alternative

High-performance materials require very sturdy materials.
fortunately, 3d printed materials have come a long way in satisfying those demand
Many 3d printing companies coming up with several innovative ways to suit these demands.
From Medicine to Aerospace engineering.

A perfect example is the first 3d printed prosthetic use in the Paralympics by german athlete Denise Schlinder,

Whose prosthetic leg was made of polycarbonate which was lighter than her previous carbon-based prosthetic with better and stronger fittings.
Humans generate high levels of force during physical activities and in Paralympics these prosthetics ned to be able to withstand such high stress.
With diverse materials and technology for 3d printing, these needs can easily be met,
3D printing enables materials and structures to be placed exactly where it needs to be while remaining as lightweight as it needs to be.
While these materials and the 3D printing machines are readily available.
However don’t expect your 3d printer to be making high-end parts,

The technology might be evening the playing field, but top athletes will still need specialised materials and knowledge to give them that technological edge.

Source: University of Technology Australia

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