Without the latest in medical device technology, the Olympic Games would be unthinkable. So far, this year’s Olympics in London have seen great athletes, world and olympic records but also disappointments and injuries. It’s all part of the game. But the Olympics also serve as a stage for employing and testing medical device innovations, collecting information for future medical device development. The Financial Times, for instance, reported that Olympic athletes are sharing their personal physical data to record sleep, diet and exercise patterns with medical device makers. Several health technology companies plan to use the athletes’ data to help re-engineer the tracking devices and a number of health-tracking companies want to increase their exposure in London. Members of the US track cycling team, for instance, are using a glucose monitor together with a sleep monitor and genetic reports that indicate nutritional needs and muscular capacity.
There’s also been an impressive premiere at this year’s Olympic Games, taking place 27 July to 12 August in London: For the very first time, a double-amputee sprinter running on carbon-fiber blades competed in the Olympic Games. Running on prosthetic legs called Flex-Foot Cheetahs, South African Oscar Pistorius made history by qualifying for the 400-meter semi-finals.
Furthermore, a number of speciality plastics and natural rubbers are finding application in sports equipment such as running shoes, balls, tires and hoops, or jerseys.
German plastics publication ‘K-Zeitung’, for instance, writes that silica technologies are used in running shoes to improve grip on wet surfaces. Silica technologies are also providing the right grip for racing cyclists and triathletes, and for wheel-chair athletes during the Paralympics. To cushion running shoes, high-performance natural rubbers such as Levapren von Lanxess are utilised as midsoles.
And, last but not least, innovative medical technologies are helping athletes to quickly recover after injuries. Recommended reading: a technical article published on emdt.co.uk about the development of biomaterials for sports-related injuries.Yvonne Klöpping