BAE Systems has implemented CAD software to create an advanced training tool for British wheelchair athletes.
The 13 athletes took part in the “world’s first computerized indoor trainer for racing wheelchairs.” The Team GB World Para Athletics Championships team are preparing for this year’s World Championships in London this year.
3D printing is widely used in the fabrication of prosthesis and is also proving its worth in sports with Latvian Polina Rožkova competing at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio with a 3D printed back brace and German cyclist Denise Schindler who competed at the games with a 3D printed prosthetic leg.
WATT System (Wheelchair Athlete Test and Training System)
BAE Systems used SOLIDWORKS CAD software to design the WATT system which consists of an adjustable frame for the user’s wheelchair and electric motor brakes to simulate real environments.
The aerospace company, which has also explored 3D printed feathers to improve its aircraft design, has been partners of UK Sport since 2008. BAE Systems UK Sport Technology Partnership Lead, Henry White explains the purpose of the WATT,
The new WATT System is a ground-breaking advancement in wheelchair racing, and a product that we’re proud to be able to offer athletes. There are a number of problems that they face training in poor weather conditions, but with this new system they’ll be able to complete whatever training they need and access courses from all over the world, from wherever they are.
Finding the winning edge
Using the WATT, the athletes have been able to monitor performance and track improvement using BAE Systems’ software. Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, explains,
BAE Systems’ expertise has proved invaluable to our athletes’ success over the past eight years, and this project is another fantastic example of how they can help our athletes maximise every precious second in training to find the winning edge over their rivals.
Featured image shows Paralympic athletes testing the WATT system. Image via onEdition.