Okay so the term “blade library” is perhaps a little misleading as it conjures up images of a dusty old building where Jason Voorhees browses for a suitable weapon for his weekend shenanigans. It isn’t that.
With the growing popularity of para-sports we’ve all seen amputees use prosthetic running blades in major competitions like the Paralympics or Invictus games. While I hope that people are inspired to take up the sport, cost can be prohibiting. As an example, the Flex-Foot Cheetah (which is used by many Paralympic athletes) costs between £11,000 and £14,000 per unit, far more than most people could afford.
Along came Xiborg, the Japanese company that specialises in researching and developing prosthetic limbs for runners. Through crowd funding, Xiborg raised an impressive ¥17.5 million (approx. £116,500) to open the library which offers a range of running blades for people of all ages and heights. The cost of renting them is a modest ¥1,000 (£7) per day.
Haruta Saito is a 10 year old running enthusiast who has become something of a poster boy for the Blade Library. Speaking to news cameras, Haruta said “With this prosthetic blade I can jump […] it allows me to run more quickly.”
In the same report a young runner, Chie Yamashita says “…if there’s a place like a prosthetic blade store then I can borrow without hesitation and it’s wonderful.”
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