Paralympics: The Games Where Bionic Athletes Reign

Tech and the Olympics are a recipe for controversy. Before double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius (right) was finally approved to compete in the Olympics (he failed to qualify, barely), naysayers claimed his carbon-fibre Cheetah blade prostheses gave him an advantage over non-cyborg competitors. And Speedo's LZR suit has been decried for rendering meaningless any world records that came before. But that debate is dropped entirely for the Paralympic Games, which are currently going on in Beijing and as we see in today's Big Picture, is where the sports tech comes out in force.

Prosthethics tech is where some of our baddest engineers are working today, from Dean Kamen's Luke Skywalker arm to the Cheetah itself, which is one of the first prosthetic legs to allow near-natural sprinting. But beyond that, tech aids large and small are what helps level (and then raise) the playing field of the Paralympics. Whether it's super-aerodynamic sprinting wheelchairs as advanced and light as any Olympic road cycle, or simple mods to make things possible in sports where they wouldn't be for disabled athletes under normal circumstances.

More great pics as always over at: [Big Picture]

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