If you’re a fan of cardio exercise, you’re likely doing wonders for your heart. However, by jumping and running, you put your ligaments under high pressure. As a result, knee injuries can occur, which may take years to heal.
Hubert Chen, an industrial design student at the Pratt Institute in New York City, has developed what he calls a Safe Landing Garment (SLG) for athletes to wear. The garment is 3D printed, making it customizable and comfortable. As a result of wearing the SLG, athletes should be able to ensure a safe landing every time they jump.
“By using 3D printing technology, the SLG garment will ensure that users with different needs perform with good landing mechanisms,” Chen explains on his website. “Too many athletes are experiencing injuries on landing due to improper form or weak ligaments. When landing from a jump, athletes can experience up to 7 times their own body weight.”
Currently, if you’re worried about your ligaments, one of the most popular options is to sport a brace. However, this is not always a good call. In order to develop the SLG, Chen spoke to professionals to find out exactly what athletes need.
“To be able to minimize and target areas that really need the compression would be tremendous,” said Annabelle Herron, a professional in understanding landing mechanisms. “Current braces often provide too much support for what the players need, which ends up causing more damage in other joints.”
Another option athletes turn to is kinesiology tape. However, this laborious process requires a trainer to spend time taping up the ligament.
The SLG is a sleeve which can be pulled on in seconds. It is fully customized through 3D printing and, depending on an athlete’s need, the patterns, size and thickness of each tessellation can be changed. The design is then printed in TPU to ensure flexibility.
The sleeve stays in place using silicone and velcro straps and has indications to show where it should be placed in relation to the knee.