Space tech helps athlete attain world record

German athlete [Wojtek Czyz] set a new world record for the long jump at the Paralympics 2008 in Beijing, with the aid of his space tech enhanced prosthetic leg. He jumped a record 6.5 meters, 27 centimeters more than the previous record. Prior to switching to his new prosthetic leg for athletic competitions, he was prone to breaking the prosthesis when he performed to the best of his abilities. [Czyz] and his trainer met with ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme (TTP) technology broker MST Aerospace to assess the most important parts of the prosthesis. According to [Dr. Werner Dupont], MST Aerospace Managing Director, the crucial element was the connection angle, or L-bracket. Working with German company ISATEC, they developed a new L-bracket using a much lighter and stronger material from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which is an instrument that will be installed on the ISS to study extraterrestrial matter. We find it interesting and pretty cool that space technology can help enhance a disabled athlete’s performance, and think that this could lead to interesting possibilities, even for those who aren’t athletes.

[via Boing Boing]

Comments

  1. D says:

    Of course he jumped farther, he’s got a spring attached to one leg.

    I’m all for disabled (differently abled, if you prefer) athletes being able to continue in their sport. But if a non-disabled athlete strapped springs to his feet he’d get kicked for cheating.

  2. pascal says:

    d, there actually was a discussion about a sprinter who wanted to take part in the “enabled” olympics with a prostetic leg. I don’t know the result, though. (I think somebody proved that it wasn’t more springy than a real one. Afair it was made by austrian manufacturer Otto Bock)…
    But it’s amazing that the connection between the human and the prostetic can take these forces

  3. Jordan says:

    @d-
    He set a record in the PARALYMPICS… the world record for the non-impaired long jump is 8.95 meters.

  4. Mike says:

    @pascal
    I don’t remember the athlete’s name, but he didn’t pass the qualifying time for the Olympics so the discussion was moot.

  5. stew says:

    @pascal, mike

    The sprinter was a South African, Oscar Pestorius. The IOC originally banned him, but after a court battle he was allowed to qualify for the able bodied Olympics. He unfortunately missed the qualifying time for the 200m by 0.7 sec.

    http://www.ossur.com/?PageID=3364

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6589763.stm

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