Sep 08

Climbers design a specialized prosthetic foot for rock climbing

These two climbers designed and built a specialized prosthetic foot just for rock climbingCJ Howard and Mandy Ott have developed the world’s first prosthetic foot made specially for rock climbing. This unique device has allowed Howard to climb at Lover’s Leap, Sugarloaf, and even Yosemite.

Howard lost his lower leg to osteosarcoma years ago but has continued to pursue sports, even setting world records for amputees. Since picking up rock climbing in 2008 he has looked for a more efficient way to climb as an amputee.

Thankfully, Ott’s experience as an aeronautical engineer allowed her to design an aggressive climbing foot using CAD software. Working together they ironed out the design details. They then outsourced the construction to an Ohio firm that specializes in direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) .

DMLS allows quick fabrication of prototypes and provided a perfect method to create the prosthetic foot. The finished product is a 6”x3”x2” 5lb foot made from commercial grade titanium. It has no seams or bolts, and is hollow to reduce weight.

Howard has put his new foot to the test, climbing up to three times a week. While it works well for some climbs, it isn’t flexible enough to suit all climbs. He has 2 more designs in mind he would like to try out in the future.

Read more about Howard’s amazing story at http://www.onlinetmd.com/medical-device-design-manufacturing-eos-morris-technologies-082912.aspx


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