Engineering students from the Australian National University (ANU) are pushing boundaries with the design and manufacture of a lower leg protective enclosure for paraplegic skier Sam Tait.
The project is being undertaken by TechLauncher, an ANU initiative that encourages students to work on real-life projects as part of course requirements. By working closely with relevant industry professionals and ANU mentors, TechLauncher students gain project management and research skills as they complete projects that will have a positive impact on society.
Christopher Zhang, Chitransh Mathur, Nathan Periria and James Spollard are the fourth year engineering students behind the project and are hoping to have the leg enclosure completed in time for Sam’s trial season at the end of August.
Sam's life changed in 2013 when he was injured in a motorcycle accident, dislocating his T11 and T12 vertebrae and severing his spinal cord. Determined not to slow down, Sam defied orders and went skiing as a paraplegic, an event he describes as the best weekend of his life. Sam has since explored the world of competitive downhill skiing and now hopes to represent Australia at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games.
Engineering student Nathan Periria, who has a passion for design and people comments, “This campaign explores both of my passions and completing this project will not only open the door to Sam’s dream, but the potential to help research and develop more modular designs in the future”.
The students are seeking additional financial support to finalise the project. A crowdfunding campaign, facilitated by ANU has been set up. Click here for more information.