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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Magical Repairs by Paralympics Prosthetics Makers

Paralympians have prosthetics and wheelchairs, and most of us never thought about what happens when one needs repair. But someone else did, and it’s amazing!



Trying out Ottobock's prosthetics at the Main Press Center in Koto-ku, Tokyo on August 27 afternoon.


It was the night of August 26, just over 2 days after the start of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. But German medical device manufacturer Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA, which provides repair service for wheelchairs and prosthetics at the Tokyo Paralympics, was already hard at work repairing more than 800 parts and prosthetics for participants in the Games. 

Sport wheelchair exhibited by Ottobock at the main press center = August 27 afternoon, Koto-ku, Tokyo.
Para archery equipment made with a 3D printer = August 27 afternoon, Main Press Center in Koto-ku, Tokyo.

According to Ottobock at a press conference held on August 27, it had also introduced a "3D printer" for the first time on a trial basis. The printer helps the company create various pieces and parts, based on three-dimensional data.

Set up in the Athletes Village, the "Repair Service Center" is staffed by more than 100 specialists from 23 countries, with expertise ranging from prosthetics and orthotics to wheelchair technicians and welding.

Trying out Ottobock's prosthetics = Main Press Center in Koto-ku, Tokyo on August 27 afternoon.
Heinrich Popow responding to the interview = Main Press Center in Koto-ku, Tokyo on the afternoon of August 27.

It also provides services at 14 booths at various competition venues to respond to urgent requests on the spot.

The company repairs equipment from various manufacturers, and has already brought in 17,300 parts, including a total of 18 tons of machine tools. More than 80% of the repairs are said to be wheelchair-related. The company expects to overhaul 2,000 units during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

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(Read the original article in Japanese here.)

Author: Sankei Shimbun