The Paralympics are under way in Rio this week, and a Latvian wheelchair fencer named Polina Rožkova is wearing customized 3D printed back brace during the games.
The brace was designed by Stratasys.
Rožkova is ranked eighth in the Epee Women’s Category A, and turned to the 3D printed aid to overcome the limitations of conventional back braces.
Rožkova reportedly approached Stratasys’s Latvian reseller Baltic3D to determine whether 3D printing could provide a solution to her problem. Using a 3D scan of her lower back, the team used a new software called WiDE to digitally design a custom-fitted brace specifically focused on supporting the geometry of her middle spine, an area often strained in fencing.
“The conventional back brace Polina was using when she came to us was huge and did not fit her shape at all, causing her discomfort and bruises in her everyday life,” said Jani Jatnieks of Baltic 3D. “It was limiting her movement in fencing and hindering her performance, which is not great when you’re preparing for the Paralympics. Fortunately, we were able to help. 3D printing gives us the ability to quickly and cost-effectively produce one-off solutions customized to the individual, and having access to Stratasys Nylon material was crucial to giving her the levels of comfort and freedom of movement required to compete with the very best in her field.”
The Paralympics wrap up on Sunday.
Filed Under: Materials • advanced