Developing a 3D Printed Arm Brace for MTB - Video

Jan 6, 2016 at 1:55
by Pinkbike Staff  

Tom Wheeler's inspirational story has been well documented here on Pinkbike, but it's one that continues to unfold and develop, along with the technology he is harnessing to overcome his injuries. His latest arm brace, which was developed in collaboration with Poppy Farrugia and PDR's International Centre for Design Research, sees the latest iteration of something which could change the lives of riders, who like Tom, have similar upper limb paralysis. As you can see from the video, it's an amazing feat of engineering.

Fore more on Tom Wheeler and his company NotBroken: www.notbroken.co.uk

Tom Wheeler

For more on Tom's inspirational story, check out the video below:

Views: 31,079    Faves: 267    Comments: 12



72 Comments

  • 172 0
 Tom, you're a badass! Poppy you are an Angel....
  • 15 1
 ^^^^^^ that! exactly that!^^^^^
  • 18 1
 Tom, may the sweet single-track forever roll under your two wheels and two hands. Awesome story.
  • 25 0
 Proper use of XXI centruy technology. People like Tom are great inspiration for me. Theres no complains about what happen to then - just sit on bike and ride. Thank You Tom.
  • 5 0
 Speaking of the technology, we bash on the full electronic stuff coming out these days but I bet it would be super helpful for him... able to run a 2x10 with one shifter, control both shock and fork lockout with one switch, etc. Hopefully he's able to utilize all of that technology to his benefit and keep shredding hard!
  • 19 0
 This is fantastic me and my wife used to ride most weekends but due to my wife being involved in a RTA she can not longer ride 2 wheels as she suffered a brain injury and has stroke like symptoms. This has left the left hand side very week and she has tried riding a 3 wheelers but steering is a issue due to left arm . I feel this kind of thinking and products would be of a massive benefit as there is nothing on the market to aid this problem . After years of rehab we look forward to riding again in the future. Thanks for posting this video and being a star you both are brilliant )))
  • 20 0
 Poppy, that is amazing. There are people that spend a lifetime trying to improve peoples lives by that degree.
  • 6 0
 Thats amazing. I remember once when I went to a dh bike park I ran into a man who has last a leg in combat. I shit you not. This guy was riding clipped in with a prosthetic leg and was absolutely bombing down the hill. I followed him down a black diamond and this dude was doing whips and everything. This just goes to show that if you really love something nothing can stop you from achieving what you want
  • 5 0
 Hello Tom, I too suffered a Brachial Plexus injury in 98 from a motorcycle accident almost tore my right arm completely off my body. Thank god for leather suits!, suffered broken ribs, broken Tib/Fib , clavicle torn out from sternum, displaced shoulder blade, displaced humers, punctured lung, and a punctured artery as well as tearing/shreading the BP conduit. Needless to say I found myself awake in the hospital, which at this point was 3 days later after spending those days in ICU, wow what a trip. After 11 months with no result in movement or feeling I myself chose the path of partial amputation from the elbow down, as I felt that it would be more of a hinderence than a benefit for me to have the whole limb motionless. plus it was detached from my rotor cuff. It was a tough mental decision yes, but i understood the consiquences of riding a motorcycle and the level of risks that come wirh it, knowing and understanding the risks of anything will certainly determine; 1. Your willingness to even do it, and or what are you really willing to risk., 2. Your willingness to not accept good and bad but to move on from there with as much conviction as you had before the S! Hit the fan : ) having martial arts training I believe helped me a lot in my recovery ( especially the mental )
recovery . My love for bicycles definitely played a big part in recovery as i knew it would still give me that freedom and feeling I was looking as well as being a great rehabilitation tool physically and mentally. Being able to get back on a snowmobile was a huge boost in my confidence and getting back to work was great too. All in all it's been a hard road, but whoever said life was easy, I don't really think was living it!.

Anyways enough about me I just want to say thanks for not giving up on yourself, you are truly few and far between as most would have mentally crumbled by now. My question is how do you find the arm brace helps you to ride better and does it help you mentally. Also areyou able to wheelie without it detaching from the bar and if neccasary will it detach itself under a certain amount of load ie; crash.

Once again Tom, thank you for trying and inspiring and " keep the rubber side down"

P.S. aren't buying gloves expensive Smile your bud Lefty
  • 8 0
 Amazing! Incredible stuff from both Tom and Poppy!
  • 1 0
 Great to see the progress you have made in the brace. I have talked to lots of guys who are looking for something like this. Have you figured out a release from the bike? If not give me a shout and we can see if we can adapt my hand for your brace.
  • 1 0
 This is amazing! Great work I know someone that could benefit from this or some version of it.

It looks like you might still have a hard time with braking? Would be interesting to see a thumb lever which could be adapted to a brake so that you could still have 2 brake levers to help with proper braking.
  • 1 0
 He does have 2 levers, one is abouve the other, with a gap between the two levers to fit your finger in
  • 1 0
 Awesome story.
Seeing the arm brace being made in solidworks, I wonder: is any engineer around pinkbike that can help me with a little issue I'm having creating gears in SW. I need this for a university project. I know this content doesn´t belong to here but I'm really desperate.
  • 1 0
 whats the problem?
  • 1 0
 checked out youtube tutorials?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nddgAu2bifY

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN6iTv8-jwY

legit can get your solidworks module done from youtube alone
  • 1 0
 Is this on the market yet? This would be awesome for people with Cerebral Palsy. Up until now most of the focus has been on modifying the bike, this seems like a superior solution for people with hemiplegia (Only one side affected) who can balance on two wheels, so they can enjoy the performance of "normal" bikes.
  • 3 0
 His face at the end said it all, utterly inspiring from Tom and Poppy's design looks and seems to work incredibly. well done to both
  • 2 0
 i really want one, especially from an engineering student point of view, even if i have no use for it i love the concept. Well done Tom and Poppy, you're both awesome!!!!!
  • 2 0
 Amazing stuff, an inspiration to us all!!
Congrats to everyone involved in the project =D
  • 1 0
 This is amazing. Im just curious how things like braking and shifting are done, if at all....... either way, so sick, nothings impossible!
  • 4 0
 I remember a guy with same story he created a doble brake leaver and shifters all in on side of the handelbar for his functional hand, and he kept shreding better than me
  • 1 0
 I think that's the same guy
  • 1 0
 I met a different guy in the Alps a few years ago with a similar injury and he had brakes and shifter set up on one side. It was pretty impressive what he could ride with only one hand on the bars.
  • 1 0
 @JonyA Ya I was thinking they're must be some way to have a double brake line with a way to control pressure/cable tension to help with different front to rear modulation, I think I've seen something along thone lines. Any link?
  • 2 0
 This guy is amazing, Banshee, give this guy a bike! He has gone through so much just to ride, support him.????
  • 1 0
 Such a great story. Allowing Tom to ride with both hands on the bars must make such a difference. Well done Poppy great work
  • 1 0
 i wonder how they will go from rapid prototyping to an actual manufacturing process. i guess it could be moulded from thermopolymers...
  • 1 0
 I had the pleasure of meeting Tom as he finished his race run at the 2014 Megavalanche. A truly inspirational individual and a great video. Good luck for the future Tom!!
  • 1 0
 Truly awesome and inspirational work.... You win the internet today my friends... All the very best for the future...
  • 2 1
 Fantastic device. In the event of a fall/crash, can it break away from the hand mount?
  • 2 1
 I don't think so man, looks like that clip is in there until he pops it out, but it looks like it was built to copy a ski clip almost, hey, that wouldn't be a bad idea haha
  • 1 0
 mad probs. what a great tool to allow people that are injured to continue enjoying their passion!
  • 1 0
 Amazing rider amaizing suport plan.... So good You guys gave me a huge encouragement Thanks.
  • 1 0
 I have a good friend could possibly benefit from this system. Mad props and please keep testing.
  • 1 0
 Tom,
any chances that brace will be open like e-NABLE prosthetics enablingthefuture.org ?
  • 1 0
 Such a beautiful story full of life and potential for a strong future! Great stuff!
  • 1 0
 Awesome, makes the normal excuses to not ride seem very trivial... Great job to everyone involved...way to not give up
  • 2 0
 Awesome and inspiring Tom!! Keep up the great work Poppy!!
  • 1 0
 So sick seeing this guy shredding the trails after what he's been through, great job man keep it up!
  • 1 0
 Take a bow guys, awesome stuff
  • 1 0
 amazing!! well done guys !! so impressed!!
  • 1 0
 Respect. Great stuff, keep shreding Tom!
  • 1 0
 Amazing how Science can help people!!! Great job!!!
  • 1 0
 Humanity at it's best! Need more people like them Smile
  • 1 0
 Very cool. I would love to hear Tom's take on how it's changed his riding.
  • 1 0
 The look on his face says it all!
  • 1 1
 Huge respect for you Tom. So good to see something like that inspire confidence into your riding!!
  • 1 0
 Awesome to see you still progressing with things man !

keep it up Big Grin
  • 1 0
 That's a real GOOD JOB, and a REAL MAN. Keep ON
  • 1 0
 As a design student this is so inspiring, mad props!
  • 1 0
 I'm just here to goon on his Nicolai...but also really cool stuff.
  • 1 0
 一个伟大的发明 good
  • 1 0
 Yeah Mrs. Poppy, SCIENCE!!!
  • 1 0
 Welcome to the world of 3D printing. Simply amazing.
  • 1 0
 Tom's a great guy and a true innovator. Top stuff (Y)
  • 1 0
 KUDOS!!!! keep on shredding !!
  • 1 0
 Wow, super natural looking stance and flexing!
  • 1 0
 What an absolute full time legend. Tom I salute you
  • 1 0
 I'm looking to wreck my whole body in the spring, glad my arm is covered.
  • 1 0
 Such a dude and still fast as f***
  • 1 0
 Big Up and massive respect to you guys!
  • 1 0
 Incredible and inspiring
  • 1 0
 Icredible. Great Job.
  • 1 0
 Tom you ledge
  • 1 0
 Seriously amazing !
  • 1 0
 Be careful Tom
  • 1 0
 This is friggin awesome!
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