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back to article High-tech 'blade runner' legs better than real ones - profs

The argument over the use of artificial legs to gain better results in athletics has taken a new turn. Following lengthy legal debates, it had been accepted that prosthetic legs confer no substantial advantage, but now the very scientists who argued that case have changed their minds. Today's new findings come from human- …

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We already know this...

The wheelchair guys are faster than the runners over a Marathon, so we know adequate technology can beat muscle. Logically either all aid technology for the disabled should be allowed, in which case we'll see non disabled athletes in wheelchairs for the marathon and doubtless other events, or else none should be allowed...

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Troll

Ok, so...

Attach lead weights at the "foot" portion of the legs to make them as difficult to manouver as a regular leg.

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Unhappy

How long before...?

Ok, so how long before an industry is spawned around the idea of limb augmentation. Combine this with stem cell research (providing spare body parts) with the result that:

"Well, I've had a great athletic career and won some great championships, but as it's now time to retire I will be having FleshLegs(TM) re-attached next week."

or

"Controversy erupted this week after parents in London applied for SpeedLegs(TM) to be attached to their 9-year-old son. They said "He is really fast and we just want to give him the best chance possible of suceeding as an athlete."

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I suppose

I suppose it's a good job they are banned anyway, otherwise we'd have athletes cutting their legs off and fitting these things to get an advantage. I kid you not, seriously.

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Damn

Does this mean that my plan to enter the marathon on a motorbike isn't going to work?

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This is not a title

Perhaps he should just enter the paralympics anyway and smash world records. Then organise show races against the able-bodied record holders to prove that it wasn't a fluke.

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Advantage?

As a powerstrider/powerizer/powerbock enthusiast I approve of Pistorius as proof that cybernetics can help people achieve their potential. It is a misconception that those prosthetic legs are effortless. You need to be in peak aerobic condition to achieve maximum speed. I don't know about the ones he uses but the ones I use recreationally weigh 10 Kg each. You can achieve very fast sprints but you run out of gas much faster.

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And who would be enabled or even able to ban real Cybermen who are Virtual Beings

Irregular and Unconventional Asymmetry is the Norm Positive Default for Constructive Order from Negative Chaos.

"Society must decide if it 'will accept relationships between humans and robots'.... Society must decide if it is willing to accept relationships between humans and robots before the machines become so sophisticated they start demanding rights, a legal expert has warned ...... Rapid advances in technology mean cyborgs, or human-like robots, are no longer a vision of a distant future. " ... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/6589916/Society-must-decide-if-it-will-accept-relationships-between-humans-and-robots.html

Methinks society is more rapidly advancing with AI Technology that has extremely sophisticated robot-like humans delivering their Own and Everyone Else's Rights, which may also be accompanied by either implicit or explicit demands,.... although MkUltra Sensitive and XXXXStreamly Rapid Advances in the Field would suggest that SMARTer Available Phishing and Phorming Technologies would Readily Supply such Needs and Feeds Automatically .....thus to Preclude any Notion of the Future and Progress being held Hostage to some Ridiculous Danegeld Ransom whenever IT is a Constructive Investment Application Program.

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Terminator

Nice.

So can we please have some leg-blades for the footed? I'm all for speed boosts and effort reductions, particularly since I have aggressive Arthritis...

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Anonymous Coward

obvious

given less weight to carry, fewer muscles to deliver oxygen to, greater rebound and so forth, to argue that it was the same was incredulous. Wonder if he could go quicker if they made them longer?

That prosthetics have a mechanical advantage over flesh and bone is a moot point; suggesting that the benefit of a limb can be measured arbitrarily is bogus.

It adds to the disingenuous "differently abled" argument; and is akin to me claiming that I'm unbeatable in the sack, thanks to a Nvr-droop(TM) prosthetic replacement ck.

Welcome to the future, obsolete human.

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Fair enough

I'll have a motorbike. I will even carry a friend so they can have a gold medal too.

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Stop

Enhancements allowed?

OK, so let's make it 'legal' for enhanced limbs to partake in the Olympics. By virtue of this, steroids can also be used. After all, the human body is simply an organic machine, right? So - either hack your limbs off and replace with super-performance parts, or take a load of drugs. Then have a race. Those athletes who refuse to use anything other than exercise, (legal) diets and training will all be shown to be inferior and will need to conform or retire.

Can't wait for this to start leaking into other sports (footballers making 300mph strikes will look well-cool).

</fugginSarcasm>

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Coat

But if he was a cyber man...

...the gold medal would kill him.

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@ Damn - no motorbikes in the marathon

I called for a cab at the start line but it never arrived, so possibly no motorbikes.

But this does make me think someone could stage an industrial accident & not only profit from the vast claim but also be able to sprint to the pub quicker...

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Anonymous Coward

@Fred Mbogo & Ash

I don't think anyone is claiming they are effortless. To achieve championship class times will take a championship class athlete. However even a 1% reduction in effort would be a significant advantage.

As for lead weights... Although its probably not PC to say so there is something gloriously ironic about the concept of handicapping "handicapped" athletes...

I'm kinda torn about this. After all a significant number of top athletes are running artificial bodies anyway what with all the, shall we say, "food supplements" and I wouldn't be suprised if there are athletes in the paralympics genuinely - and maybe even not-quite-so-genuinely - on drugs which would gain a life ban in other categories. To an increasing extent there are sports where discovering athletes is primarily about identifying folk on the edges of the bell curve of human variation who fit the profile. I really like the idea of seeing Paula Radcliffe beaten into the weeds by someone in a wheelchair, its got to be good for the morale of those folk who are in that situation. On the other hand I reckon Dan 10's "How long before" is right on the money...

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Who cares anyhow?

This just goes to show the pointlessness of competitive sports nowadays -- granted they can be amusing to watch but when large amounts of money start to depend upon the outcome of sporting events they just become corrupt and/or over-regulated, and pointless.

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Welcome

Bicycles are faster than prosthetic legs

In a sense a bicycle is just another kind of prothetic pair of legs. But cycling is a different, albeit faster athletic sport. The fact I could still fairly easily beat a world leading runner over 1500 metres using my own muscles applied more efficiently through the use of bicycle does not make me into an olympic athlete alas. So I think that blade running, cycling and conventional running on your own 2 feet will have to be classified as entirely different events.

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FAIL

Include them in the Olympics, but as a separate event

I agree with the posters who suggest that it's akin to doing a marathon in a wheelchair or racing on a bike: perfectly legitimate sports, just different from running.

So lets have some of these events such as blade running, wheelchair marathon and murderball in the regular Olympics alongside running and cycling instead of pushing them off to the far-less-televised Paralympics. It's not like there aren't a lot of sports already where equipment makes a big difference. It would also help to offset the ludicrous number of swimming medals awarded for doing essentially the same thing in arbitrarily constrained ways.

And if anybody thinks there isn't room in the Olympics for more events, I know that I would happily cut some of the ludicrous non-sports such as rhythmic gymnastics. Eliminate any event that is scored on artistic merit, performed in time to music, or requires waterproof lipstick, along with Synchronized Anything, and there will be plenty of room for the real athletes.

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Grenade

technology sport...

Make a separate event for mechanically (not chemically) augmented athletics. Then attract sponsorship and R&D funding into new designs and materials. Then use the revenues and profits from the television rights to pay for decent prosthetics for all those unlucky people who've had their legs blown off by the landmines and munitions. MoD sees fit to lend their support to a range of plastic dolls to encourage cannon fodder, so why should they not sponsor this ?

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Joke

Really, their argument

Doen't have a leg to stand on.

Time to be gone.

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Stop

@{Robert Long 1, Eric Hood}

"...motorbike..."?

Two words - Fred Lorz.

// see, amongst other resources, http://sports.indiainfo.com/article/090902205443_ten_disgraceful_events_of_sporting_world/436241.html

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Coat

but how would they do in the arse kicking event?

(it's not a coat, it's a boilersuit for atheletes)

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hypocrisy?

Yet when Tiger Woods got LASIK surgery to artificially improve his eyesight past the point of "perfect vision", and SIGNIFICANTLY improved his game after doing so, it was OK? After all, he only started winning after his surgery, which allowed to read greens much better, according to Woods himself.

At what point does it become "artificial enhancement"? When it's visible to others? If the guy with blades hid them behind a "fake but real-looking leg" would it be OK?

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WTF?

But he isn't the fastest at all...

" As it turned out the "fastest man on no legs" failed to qualify for the South African squad that went to Beijing, as there were able-bodied runners who beat his times. "

What is the point in banning him from the event if he isn't able to qualify for it? If the artificial leg design was so profoundly superior, then he should have thrashed all of his teammates and been in Beijing, and grabbed the gold.

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..and what's more..

.. he won't have athlete's foot.

Yes, the one with the suspicious white powder, thanks.

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might win gold,

but wouldn't he miss out on all the lucrative Nike contracts for promoting their running shoes....

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@AC 14:33

I'd go farther than that and eliminate all judged events. There's no argument over who wins when it's objectively and unambiguously measured. Also, identical equipment should be provided to everyone, altered only to fit their body size. It makes no sense for someone to be able to win solely because they have a more-expensively-engineered swimsuit.

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@Fred Mbogo

Actually sprint events are anaerobic, all about stored power not efficiently converting oxygen. So no (as a former sprinter, long distance running is for gangly wusses).

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WTF?

@ ShaggyDoggy

Erm, got a news flash for ya, Athletes are already removing body parts to enhance performance! http://www.fitsugar.com/5771894

Here's a lovely quote:

Sports podiatrist Dr. Robert M. Conenello says, "A lot of them [runners] look at their toenails as useless appendages, remnants of claws from evolutionary times long ago. I’ve heard them say, 'Toenails are dead weight.'" One runner explained he used to have to stop mid-run and poke a hole in his throbbing toenail to relieve the pressure, but after having them all removed, toenails are "one less thing to have to deal with." Some runners are embarrassed to show off their bald toes, while others feel it is proof of the miles they've logged, and display it proudly with a Toenails Are For Sissies t-shirt.

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Anonymous Coward

And welcome to the 100m sprint at the 2020 Olympic

This year, as you'll remember, sees the introduction of a 5m cattle-grid section in the middle of the course...

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