Science behind Olympian Pistorius' 'blades' researched at Pitt

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PITTSBURGH - Olympian Oscar Pistorius, didn't win a medal or even advance to the finals, but he sure is one of the most inspiring.

Known as the "Blade Runner," Pistorius was the first amputee to compete in track at the Olympics.

On Monday, Channel 11 found out the science behind the double amputee's blades.

The science behind his blades is researched at Pitt's human engineering research lab.

"We're working on a hand-cycle for the next Paralympics and robotic wheelchairs for people who don't have use of their arms and legs," said Dr. Rory Cooper.

Cooper lost both of his legs below the knee when he was 20 during a tour of duty in the Army. He met Pistorius during the 2008 Paralympics.

"When anybody with a disability breaks a barrier like Oscar, that helps elevate everybody," said Cooper.

Cooper's staff is made up of Pitt undergraduates and interns who train with UPMC patients at the lab in Bakery Square.

"We're sort of the ideal place for the next Oscar Pistorius to come out of the Pittsburgh region. We have all the pieces of the puzzle here," said Cooper.