In spring 2004, ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme (TTP) technology broker MST Aerospace met with Wojtek Czyz and his trainer to perform a pre-screening of the most crucial elements of the prosthesis used by Czyz. Having lost part of his left leg three years before in a sports accident, he now uses a prosthesis in two athletic disciplines: long jump and sprint competitions.
"The objective was to see how to improve his performance, and we found the most important problem was related to a connection angle, the so-called L-bracket, between the knee joint and the foot module," explains Dr Werner Dupont, MST Aerospace Managing Director.
"In collaboration with the German company ISATEC, we developed a new L-bracket using materials originating from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), an instrument that will be mounted on the International Space Station to study extraterrestrial anti-matter, matter and missing matter."
The advantage of these space materials is that they are extremely strong and at the same time lighter than conventional products available, both important advantages for top athletes’ performance. The problem with Czyz’ previous prosthesis was that it tended to break when he performed to the maximum of his capacity.
At the previous Paralympics Games in Athens Czyz competed with a space-tech enhanced prosthetic leg and won a gold medal in three disciplines: 100 m sprint, 200 m sprint and long jump.
Following this success, MST and ISATEC, a German engineering company dealing with light materials, continued to work on improving the prosthesis. In a series of investigations undertaken by MST, including a number of advanced calculations on the dynamic performance of the materials done by ISATEC, a single-part foot module made in carbon fibre reinforced plastics proved to be the most promising solution for a sprint prosthesis.
For the long jump discipline, the previous design consisting of an L-bracket and a foot module was proven to be the most efficient.
"We first started working on improving the prosthesis for the sprint discipline, and then further improved the long jump prosthesis as well," continues Dupont.
"This latest development turned out to be a great success at the Paralympics 2008, and helped Wojtek Czyz beat the world record by an incredible 27 cm."
"The use of lighter and extremely strong space materials in the development of new prostheses for top athletes has proven its worth both in Athens in 2004 and now again in Beijing in 2008. The next step, which we are already looking into with our partners, is to use this expertise for similar developments of prostheses for other disabled people."
Frank Salzgeber | alfa
Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics
25.04.2017 | University of Delaware
Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging
24.04.2017 | Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Life Sciences
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.04.2017 | Earth Sciences