When ANU engineering students needed funding to develop a leg enclosure prototype for sit-ski Paralympian hopeful Sam Tait they turned to crowdfunding for support.
After Sam was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in 2013, he didn't want his injuries to stop him from pursuing his passion for skiing. Sam became determined to qualify for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games, despite his inexperience in a sit-ski.
Initially, Sam was using hockey pads to protect his legs during competition, which were easily dislodged and provided minimal leg protection.
The students involved in the design and manufacture of the leg cover for Sam wanted to have a positive impact on society and help Sam achieve his dreams.
“The leg box goes over Sam’s sit-ski and is designed to prevent the impact of gates when he is racing. Sam will be able to race without fear, and gain a competitive advantage,” said design team member and engineering student Chris Zhang.
Sam was impressed with the commitment shown by the students who worked on the project.
“I’m super stoked that ANU have picked it up and that the students are willing to help me. Even through their school holidays they’re still working like they’re at school every day.”
Given the cost of manufacturing such a unique piece of equipment, the students turned to crowdfunding to help them finance the development of the lower leg enclosure.
“A leg-box isn’t something that can be bought off the shelf like boots or a pair of skis. It is a custom piece of equipment designed specifically for my anthropometrics and racing style,” said Sam.
The ANU design team were thrilled to reach their goal of $5,000 thanks to the generosity of donors.
The students presented their final leg enclosure prototype at the TechLauncher Showcase, a program where students develop technology to address complex problems in a variety of disciplines and industries.