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With swimming subsiding and track on the way, the Summer Olympics are getting ready to heat up (even if the weather is not). One of the fascinating stories of these Games (as well as the soon-to-follow 2012 Summer Paralympics Summer Games) is that of Oscar Pistorius.
The South African track athlete uses “bladed” prosthetic technology and will compete in the Olympic games after being a highly decorated Paralympic athlete. Some people may be worried that his technology is too good, saying that it might give him an advantage over regularly-abled athletes. For the most part, however, it’s a feel-good story. Steven van Dulken even examined the interesting patents and technology behind Pistorius’ prostheses in 2011.
In that spirit, today we’ll look at a handful of patents that allow people with disabilities to perform and enjoy competitive sports!
Auxiliary Ski for Physically Handicapped Persons – US 3,868,122 A
These auxiliary skis are employed by the user’s arms in order to provide stability on each side of a single conventional ski. They serve as combination skis and ski poles, with the addition of a central spike down the center of each tool.
Wheelchair – US 7,401,630 B2
This wheelchair patent also includes a shell for the outside of the wheelchair, designed to protect the user from collisions in sports such as wheechair rugby, a Paralympic sport. Readers might remember wheelchair rugby from the inspirational documentary Murderball (which I highly recommend). Collisions can be intense, so it can be helpful to have that extra safeguard!
Sports implement handle-holding attachment for prosthesis – US 4,357,717 A
There are a metric ton of golf patents out there (if you don’t believe me, take a gander in US Class 473/131). This device grips a traditional golf club so that a conventional two armed swing can be performed. Make sure to watch out for gophers!
I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this interesting sports patents. Enjoy the Olympics and don’t forget to check out the Paralympics afterwards!
This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.