The Sports Techie community blog champions the use of sports tech for the disabled athlete worldwide. I am not keen on using the term ‘disability’ or ‘handicapped’ and neither are England Athletics. Instead, there are more respectful and understanding words and terms to use. Accessibility for disabled sports people has improved considerably thanks to the invention of several new technologies. For some people, technology is the only way that they are able to continue doing what they love or even find new passions. Take what a wheelchair or prosthetic leg can do for a runner, sprinter or walker, as an example. This is a real human triumph that should be both acknowledged and celebrated. This article will look at some of the best inventions that are helping people with physical disabilities achieve more than they ever thought possible. The Sports Techie community has your back, disabled and Special Olympic athletes, wherever you are.
A blind marathon runner worked with an app developer to create eAscot, named after his guide dog. At 17 years old, Simon Wheatcroft lost his sight and started running competitively to challenge himself and take up a new hobby to find an enjoyable way to spend his time.
Initially he would run with a guide dog or other people to help keep him on track, but in order to increase his independence so he didn’t need to rely on others, as well as create the opportunity for him to run competitively, he partnered up with the developer to create the app which uses satellite navigation and sensors to help him stay on course. Simon went on to compete in a 150-mile ultra-marathon across the Nambian desert which is an incredible achievement for anyone let alone someone with his impairment. Three cheers for Simon, a real Sports Techie pioneer!
Paraplegics who play sport run the risk of not being able to realize if they have been seriously injured due to their lack of sensation. To combat this a Paralympic sit-skier has created an injury detection suit that uses pressure-sensitive film to indicate in real time the severity of an injury after an accident.
This is done through a color change technology, in which the suit will change color to show the severity of an injury in an area of the suit that has come under severe stress. This will alert the athlete to any emergency that may require medical attention immediately.
This is one of my favorite examples of improving accessibility to sports for disabled players. Launched in 2001, the paragolfer transports users around the course and lifts them into the correct standing position in order to play. The para golfer could be seen as acting as a hybrid between a golf buggy and assistive technology. This wonderful invention can help an athlete continue playing the sport that they love after an accident, as well as creating more sporting opportunities for new players.
Engineering students at Imperial College London have come up with a way for people who are paralyzed to still be able to take part in bobsleigh racing. Their solution was to use a ‘mind reading’ headset that interprets brainwaves called Emotiv EPOC. By connecting this device to the bobsleigh, it could be trained to steer a vehicle left and right. This is an exciting piece of technology with an almost futuristic feel to it that could have a massive impact on changing and adapting the sports of the future. This piece of technology takes away the physical element of support, replacing something that would usually rely on physical strength with a reliance on thinking and the power of intention instead.
Sports Techie, my six-year old son is on the autism spectrum. He loves participating in the Special Olympics as do his school mates. He is in first grade now and this year will be his third event here in Georgia.
The Sports Techie mission is to even the playing field for all.
There is no better way to make this so than for the disabled athlete.
We can do it!
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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One response to “Amazing Technology Supporting Disabled People in Sport”
hello greate post here i hope all amputees in the house will share this post