Technology is set to play a critical role in the Paralympics in London. Of course, cutting-edge innovation helped power some of the world's best able-bodied athletes to glory in the same venues a few short weeks ago, and now it is the turn of their Paralympic counterparts, many of whom rely on science and technology to deliver exceptional performances.
South African star Oscar Pistorius, for example, has become one of the biggest names in track and field due to the quality of his performances and the spectacular-looking blades that help him to achieve greatness. Such is the draw of the 400-metre sprinter, Pistorius was one of the most popular athletes to compete in the recent Games, even though he failed to make a splash in his event.
And over the next couple of weeks, there will be plenty of competitors who will use innovative pieces of technology to assist their performance. For example, Team GB’s Shelly Woods, who won silver in the 5,000 metres at Beijing in 2008, has been testing the sturdiness of her wheelchair at BAE Systems’ wind tunnel in Lancashire. To this end, the chair was tested against an airflow of 45 kmph and having come through such tests successfully, Woods can be confident that it will not let her down during the heat of competition.
Serious questions remain, however, as to whether more affluent countries have an unfair advantage over those who not have access to such technology - what do you think?