3D printing provided a new solution for the British paralympic basketball team as they rolled to the court in brand new wheelchairs with a hi-tech foam seat, designed by BMW engineers. The seat utilizes a technology previously used in Formula 1 cars providing the chair with the most aerodynamic cycling position possible.
The new moulded foam seat is customized for each player using the latest 3D scanning and 3D printing technology. It reduces the chair’s weight and enables the athlete to move faster and to adapt better in the chair.
The athletes are 3D scanned in a seated position. A 3D CAD model is then created from this data, which is then 3D printed using an EOS system — the EOSINT P 395 in this case — producing the customized chairs for the athletes. The process takes only two days.
According to one of the players, Ade Orogbemi, “The new seat has improved my game enormously. The stability gives me the ability to turn quickly both going right and left, which I was unable to do before. The extra speed it gives me around the court makes it easier to defend against the best attacking sides in the world to give us that unique advantage. I believe it is allowing me to play my best ever basketball.”
3D printed Wheelchairs are not the only hi-tech application used by Paralympians. Prostetic body parts and other cutting-edge technology support devices have been applied for the athletes in order to create custom fit solutions.