Stratasys Ltd. a manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems for personal use, prototyping and production, announced that it sponsored the Amputee Long Drive Championship (ALDC) at the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex in Mesquite, Nevada. The ALDC brings together disabled golfers from the U.S. and Canada to compete for the chance to become the longest driver in amputee golf.
Stratasys is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), to aid in its efforts to develop lightweight, high-performance prosthetics. ORNL’s goal is to help advances in prosthetics reach the market quickly and affordably. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) plays an important role in ORNL’s prosthetics program.
“Our partnership has allowed ORNL to customize prosthetics to fit the needs of amputees by re-imagining ways to advance these products,” said Jeff DeGrange, vice president direct digital manufacturing at Stratasys.
When golf was added to the upcoming 2016 Olympics but denied from the Paralympics, ALDC founder Dean Jarvis, became determined to build an event that allowed disabled golfers to demonstrate their abilities and compete in a nationally recognized tournament. Today, the ALDC is considered one of the most high-profile disabled golf events in the nation and according to Jarvis, provides a solution to the barriers that have prevented golf’s inclusion in the Paralympics.
“If necessity is the mother of invention, then frustration might be the father,” said Jarvis, an above-the-knee amputee, as he spoke about the challenges he’s overcome. “I think Stratasys is a perfect match for the ALDC because their enabling technology embodies this mentality and presents new possibilities for me and my peers.”
The connection between Stratasys and the ALDC was sparked when DeGrange met with Jarvis and White House Science Fair winner, Easton LaChappelle, a high school student who created a mind-controlled prosthetic arm using two 3D printers in his bedroom. Dr. Lonnie Love, senior robotics research scientist at ORNL, made the introduction after hearing about Easton’s presentation during the inaugural ALDC at the Tennessee National Golf Club in July, 2013.