A TED talk from MIT’s Dr Hugh Herr on his labs latest Bionic limb technology has got us, at the RTSIC, thinking about the role that more active prosthetics play in the world of disability Sports. The general ruling from the IPC is that equipment that results in athletic performance being generated by machines, engines or robotic mechanisms, the IPC monitor the use of technology within events to ensure that no athlete gains an unrealistic advantage. There are inevitably some disagreements as to what constitutes an advantage, examples such as Heather Mills prosthetic leg being deemed ineligible for use at the Paralympic Winter Games or Oscar Pistorius’ claims that Alan Oliviera’s blades were too long and gave an unfair advantage in the men’s T44 200m in London 2012.
It seems a difficult aspect of performance to assess, how much of an athletes performance can be attributed to the technology within their prosthetics? But also should there be more scope in the system to allow for the use of active prosthetics and encourage their development.