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18 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 21 August 2012

Gareth Mitchell looks at the technology behind the Paralympics and finds out how new products are designed and developed.

He travels into the heart of Germany to visit the headquarters of Ottobock, one of the world's leading manufacturers of carbon fibre running blades.

Five times stronger than steel, the blade has 80 layers of carbon, each thinner than a human hair.

He meets 100m sprinter Heinrich Popow, hoping to clinch gold in this year's Paralympics.

However, as the athletes are keen to point out, their performance isn't driven by technological advances, the technology has to keep up with them.

What does the future hold for Paralympic technology?

Gareth talks to Professor Andy Miah about emerging technologies that could have athletes delivering superhuman performances in the future.

But will these advances fall foul of the stringent rules applied in the games?

(Image: Heinrich Popow, 100m sprinter. Credit: Ottobock)

  • Gareth Mitchell

    Gareth Mitchell

    Gareth Mitchell tests out the newly made carbon fiber blade at Ottobock in Germany.

  • Gareth Mitchell

    Gareth Mitchell

    Gareth Mitchell in front of the giant pressure cooker, which is used to make carbon fiber running blades.

  • Carbon fiber running blade

    Carbon fiber running blade

    A carbon fiber running blade made by Ottobock.



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