Fencer takes on the Paralympics with a 3D Printed Brace
This year at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Poļina Rožkova is representing Latvia for wheelchair fencing competition this week. Poļina is competing in the competition with the aid of a 3D printed back brace by Stratasys reseller, Baltic3D.
The support is a custom fit created especially for Rožkova using a 3D scan of her lower back and specialist WiDE software. This support boasts a ‘botanical’ design and stylized ‘butterfly’ shape. This custom sizing of the brace to fit Rožkova’s back and overcomes the trouble she faced with the conventional small, medium and large sizing a usual back brace typically offers. This custom fit also helps Rožkova by providing more comfort and enhancing her movement ability as compared to her existing equipment.
“Throughout my years as a professional wheelchair fencer, I have been looking for an alternative, and most importantly, sports-appropriate lower back brace to allow me to fence and move freely without any restraints or pain,” explains Rožkova. “As the sport puts a lot of strain on the back, I also needed a support that could be replaced easily if it broke during training or competition. I’m ecstatic with the result – not only is the 3D printed back brace visually appealing, but it gives me a level of freedom unparalleled to anything I have ever used before. I feel better equipped than ever to achieve my goals.”
Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production was used to build the final product in one single build using Stratasys’ lightweight, flexible Nylon 12 material. In this week’s preliminaries, Rožkova went up against some fierce competition with the brace.
Currently Rožkova holds the Number 8 ranking in the world. She lost her early duel against Polish quarterfinalist Marta Fidrych by just 2 points. Her greatest win of the competition was when she went up against Chui Yee Yu from Hong Kong and won the duel with an astounding lead of 5 points to 2.
This was Rožkova’s first appearance at the Paralympic games and the first attempt at using 3D printed equipment for this sport. Us fans are excited to watch what Poļina Rožkova will be bringing to Tokyo 2020 and how the developments in the field of 3D printing will affect the sport. Technology can truly change the world, as the President of Stratasys EMEA, Andy Middleton explains
“Polina’s story is one that embodies all the great things about 3D printing and its ability to truly shape lives, being able to quickly 3D print low-cost solutions customized specifically to the person takes us away from a world where we settle for small, medium or large, giving consumers more options than ever before. We are extremely proud to be a part of this project and help Polina overcome a design challenge, allowing her to compete at the top.”