Competitive cycling calls for strength, endurance, and the most aerodynamic form a rider can muster. The same goes for elite athletes' prosthetic legs.
German paralympic cyclist Denise Schindler plans to become the world's first cyclist to compete in the games with a 3D-printed leg, reports Dezeen.
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A childhood accident caused Schindler to have her right leg amputed below the knee, and she usually wears a handmade carbon fiber prosthesis for competition that adapts to the pedal. She's a two-time world champion and won the silver medal for the C1-3 road race in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
But having a handmade prosthetic leg can be problematic, especially for an elite athlete like Schindler. Plaster casting and crafting can take weeks. Plus, any adjustments are also time-consuming. For the past year, however, she's been working with the software company Autodesk on designing and testing a 3D-printed leg using a much faster and smarter process.
"This is going to be the world's first prosthetic at the Olympics which has been 3D-printed," Autodesk product designer Paul Sohi told Dezeen.
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The team used Autodesk software called Fusion 360 that does modeling, animation, and simulation, allowing them to see the potential stress impact on the material digitally right away. This led to a more aerodynamic, almost blade-like design.
Schindler says she's already training on a recent version of the leg, and was surprised at how big of a step the team had made with it. Check out the creation of her 3D-printed prosthetic here: