Running Prosthetics That Help Paralympians Run Faster | The Tech Race


Welcome to The Tech Race. This technology allows
Paralympic athletes to compete on par
with Olympians. How is it possible that simple
engineering is making us question the rules of the game? (RUNNING PROSTHETICS) Carbon-fibre prostheses
are able to reproduce and even improve the movements
of the knee joint and ankle. (JAPAN) (KAWASAKI) Modern-day Paralympic
prostheses are the result of a long design process,
as well as leaps in technology. Let’s meet
one of the most important prosthetics manufacturers
in Kawasaki, Japan. (XIBORG OFFICES) The less curved it is,
the lighter, but this arrow lays down. If you hoist this arrow, the prosthesis is not that
flexible. I mean, this type of prosthesis
only jumps around here, but other types jump higher. Running prostheses are made of a special carbon-fibre
reinforced polymer. It is an extremely strong
and light reinforced plastic, which contains carbon fibres. The blades
are transtibial prostheses, meaning they replace
legs and feet that are amputated
below the knee, and are designed
by specialised engineers. Everybody thinks that
Paralympic athletes are disabled, but the prosthetic legs
advances make the athletes progress, and they can reach
the Olympic athletes and even get better than them. Running blades
used to be C-shaped, causing athletes to lose
significant energy at turns. The cutting-edge
J-shaped blades act more like a human foot. The curvature at the bottom of
the blade acts like an ankle, giving increased speed
and efficiency on corners. So we use two legs to walk, but for the sprinting we use the leg as a spring,
to pump up our body. We have earlier time, which is the time we don’t have
any contact with the ground. So the prostheses
push our body upwards, and hop. A Paralympic athlete can run at the same speed
as able-bodied sprinters using 25% less oxygen, due to the prosthesis
energy return. The carbon-fibre blades produce
three times more energy return than a human ankle. Keita Sato participated in the
Paralympic Games Rio 2016 with Team Japan, in the athletics
4 x 100m men’s relay, achieving a time of 44.16 – just 6.52 seconds more than what Andre De Grasse
achieved in the Olympic Games Rio 2016
for Team Canada. Both went on to take home Olympic medals for their teams. The first Paralympic Games
were held in Rome, 1960. They are open to athletes
with physical, mental and sensory disabilities. It has been an important social
and sporting breakthrough, that has put disabled athletes
in the Olympics. Not everything can be achieved
by technology alone – training is just as crucial. Paralympic athletes’ training is similar to the process of
rehabilitation. Thanks to the development
of the prosthetic legs and the training, more people
that were using a wheelchair will be able to use
prosthetic legs. Training hard
and advances in technology have shown their results. Oscar Pistorius created history in the Olympic Games
London 2012, where he became
the first amputee to reach a 400m semifinal,
running with prostheses. Since then, he has been
nicknamed the Blade Runner. If a Paralympic athlete becomes
a star like Usain Bolt or Federer, the number of children who want
to be stars will increase. So we have an objective –
to create a star. When technology fuses
with humans, we evolve. I think there is
a lot more progress in Paralympics than Olympics. The progress is good not only
for sports, but for society. There are a lot of dreams
there. As Paralympic athletes
are beginning to run faster than Olympians,
the tech race continues. Every day,
researchers and scientists are racing against time to improve and pioneer new
advances in technology, hoping to one day
close the gap between Paralympic
and Olympic runners.

16 thoughts on “Running Prosthetics That Help Paralympians Run Faster | The Tech Race

  1. What would happen if they have both legs removed and use that J shape, Is it possible that someone could beat Usain Bolt?

  2. They have to create a new category in order to maintain the equality sport principle and to not promote the possibility in the future of people who voluntarily cuts their limbs for money.

  3. Long distance runners with both legs amputated could have a serious advantage over those with legs because they need less oxygen

  4. Let's say an Olympic runner blows out his ankle, they'll recover, be able to walk, and live a decent life. But they can't hope to compete anymore.

    Could they find a doctor to amputate, say at the most optimal location of the leg, and move into the Paralympics?
    Are there rules against things like that? Would it be widely regarded as shameful?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *