Competitive athlete and Paralympic snowboarder Monster Mike Shultz lost his leg in 2008 in a snowmobile race. As soon as he could walk on his first prosthesis, he started looking for prosthetic equipment that would allow him to get back on his bike and snowmobile—and he couldn’t find any.
Undeterred and passionate about building and creating things with his hands, Monster Mike decided to build himself a better leg on his own. Energized by his decision to solve his own problem, Mike worked on designs for a month before starting to build them in his workshop.
Fast-forward to the Beijing 2022 Paralympics, and 26 athletes from 11 different countries used equipment Monster Mike built in his shop. For him, helping fellow adaptive athletes is much bigger than his own personal performance. He’s also partnered with Intel to use Intel® 3DAT (3D Athlete Tracking) technology to advance his goal.
Initially developed for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, 3DAT generates 2D and 3D information about how an athlete moves, using data from one or multiple cameras. That information helps Monster Mike and other adaptive athletes get the most performance from their adaptive devices. It enables him to compare two different prostheses he uses, allowing him to overlay visual representations of the mechanics of cycling, squatting, and lifting to discover minute differences that can improve his performance.
With multiple protheses that he uses to train and compete, being able to compare them is extremely valuable for him. Monster Mike is also using Intel® 3DAT to compare his mechanics as an adaptive athlete to those of an able-bodied athlete. This gives him insight to what he can do to better tune his prostheses and enhance his performance overall.
3DAT also allows Monster Mike to measure precisely what joint angles were different and what type of movement patterns exist between all of his different movements and what the able-bodied person did.
Monster Mike’s ultimate goal is to eliminate any difference in the performances of adaptive and able-bodied athletes, and the goal gets closer as he improves his technology and adaptive athletes continue to push boundaries at the Paralympics and in other adaptive sports.