It's a historic event. South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius ran the 400m in London, and unlike his competitors, he's a double amputee. And he's seriously fast. But how did he get spikes on his prosthetics? For grip while running.
The spikes have to be fitted by hand, and the process takes up to two hours. After that the spikes fall off, because unlike a foot, which bends and curves, carbon blades are less mobile. But Oscar doesn't need to do it himself, because he's sponsored by Nike, so there's top notch tech at his disposal.
In the Ossür's lab in Iceland, Nike designer Tobie Hatfield to create a spike that was just right for his unique situation. Tobie filmed Oscar sprinting on a pressure-sensitive treadmill at 500fps, to make sure he saw every movement and studied Oscar's form just right. Tobie came up with the Spike Pad:
Hatfield wanted the most shock absorption possible, but didn't want Pistorius to lose launch power to a spongy pile of foam. So the resulting Spike Pad itself was fully realized then. It's formed of a midsole—two machine-molded pieces of foam with two different densities (softer is in the back where the Pistorius lands during his stride and harder density is in the front where Pistorius begins his stride)—along with a carbon fiber Spike Plate that attaches to the bottom.
And instead of the two hour installation, Tobie managed to cut it down to just 15 minutes, where the spikes were affixed with contact cement and removed them with a blowdryer. Oscar is now in the semi finals for the 400m in London. [FastCo]