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posted 08 September 2016 at 16:45:01

With the Rio Paralympics starting today, here’s an inspiring story about two elite Italian athletes. Veronica Yoko Plebani is competing at the Rio Paralympics, while fellow athlete Fabrizio Passetti, is preparing for the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship in La Jolla, California. Veronica is a canoeist and Fabrizio is a Surfer. So what do these two talented athletes have in common, aside from watersports?

The answer is that both wear 3D printed prosthetics created by Marco Avaro, a biomedical engineer who is part of the WASPmedical team.

'I’ve made a hand brace for Veronica,' says Avaro. 'Fabrizio instead needs a carbon fibre prosthesis for high-level performance in extreme conditions. They are enthusiastic about results and they embody the extraordinary results we can obtain with 3D printing.'

At the Orthopaedic Lab “Del Bene Fabio” in Trieste, the Italian engineer works with DeltaWASP printers to create increasingly sophisticated prostheses. 'This work is based on using high-quality filaments, produced by TreeD Filaments, and the fast and accurate printers manufactured by WASP. Today, 3D printing has become extremely accurate and sophisticated. We’re printing objects with tolerances of 0.2 mm.'

A prosthesis is a customised medical device, must adhere to strict regulations and needs a medical prescription. Many reliability tests are conducted before the green light is given for an athlete to wear one.

Avaro is currently experimenting with a new full metal extruder and is very enthusiastic about its possibilities: 'Its peculiarity is to homogenise prints, making a strong and tenacious product. I’m very satisfied – it’s a bulldog', he adds mysteriously...

For more information about the WASPmedical Team go to: