Titan Robotics is known for our industrial large-format 3D printers, but another arm of the business is helping others through 3D printing. 3D printing prosthetics for children and stability devices for athletes has proven to be revolutionary for people with a physical disability, especially athletes. Titan’s own Allison Jones, a mechanical engineer and Paralympic athlete, has a passion for using her skills as an engineer to develop new and innovative ways to use 3D printing to improve her own performance and the capabilities of others.
Allison uses 3D printing to design and create custom stability devices she tests and uses on her own bike. Allison is a Paralympic cyclist and alpine skier with a handful of medals, including two gold medals. She is headed to Rio for her eighth Paralympic Games and has helped one of her teammates also qualify for Rio.
Billy Lister had a rare neurological condition as a teenager and eventually became neurologically paralyzed on his left side. It took years for Billy to rediscover his love for sports, and in 2012 he began cycling. But when on a bike, Billy’s left hand, wrist and arm tightens after strenuous riding and involuntarily moves into a position that hinders his speed and endurance. Allison and worked together to design a custom device that holds Billy’s arm in place, and provides a specific pressure point that naturally relaxes his hand and arm.
Billy says the 3D printed device has made a huge difference in his riding and speed.
“Night and day actually, compared to where we are today to where we were just six months ago,” he told KOAA news reporter Greg Dingrando.
He describes at a game changer and believes it was a major factor in qualifying for Rio.
“With this arm perch, it puts my arm in a secure position and doesn’t allow it to move around,” Lister said in a recent interview with KRDO. “It takes the uncontrollable nature of my arm out of the equation and allows me to ride more comfortably and a lot faster.”
With 3D printing, Allison was able to redesign and reprint different prototypes of the device until they got just the right fit for Billy. He’ll be using the device next month when he competes in track and road races in Rio.
Allison and Billy say this is just the beginning when it comes to using 3D printing to make assistive and stability devices for fellow athletes. After Rio, Allison will continue her work as an engineer at Titan Robotics and plans to continue helping others through her skills and passion to help other athletes like her and Billy.
“The community has been so great to Titan Robotics in helping the company start out, so we would love to give back,” Allison said on KRDO. “Hopefully that means we will be able to help athletes or people in need get inexpensive prosthetics using our 3D printers.”
Titan Robotics will be sure to bring you the latest on Allison and Billy’s performance in Rio. You can check back here on our website, www.titan3drobotics.com for times and information on how to watch Allison and Billy compete in just a few weeks. Go Team USA!