Disabled dog walks again thanks to 3-D printed prosthetics

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Designers of 3-D printing are moving past human prosthetics and creating some for our beloved dogs. Derby, a dog who was born with a congenital deformity resulting in small forearms and no front paws, is now able to walk again thanks to his new 3-D printed prosthetics. His circular replacement legs were created by 3D Systems—a 3-D printing firm—using the Project 5500X 3-D printer. The idea of the prosthetic was first envisioned when Tara Anderson, director of product management at 3D Systems, decided to foster Derby from Peace and Paws. “I had to try and help this dog,” Anderson said in a video of Derby’s story. Derby was first given a cart, but it would limit his mobility. Anderson and her team then tried to design a smooth curved prosthetic that shaped perfectly to Derby’s short forearms. “I don’t become impressed really quickly, but when I saw him sprinting like that, it was amazing,” said Dom Portanova, adoptive parent of Derby. “I couldn’t believe it,”

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Now Derby is able to run two to three miles every day and usually gets ahead of his owners when he goes for a walk, Portanova said. “The first time he was put on them and he just took off running, he was so happy,” said Sherry Portanova, adoptive parent of Derby. “I was amazed at how well he did.” The design team started Derby with low prosthetics so he wouldn’t feel a drastic change of height. Slowly, they can adjust the height so it’s more fitting for his posture and size. Anderson and her team had also created a different type of prosthetic that would resemble a pirate’s peg leg, but she was afraid that Derby would get it stuck in the dirt when running. Therefore, she thought of the round form, which adjusts better to his movement. “This is what 3-D printing is all about,” Anderson said. “To be able to help anybody. A dog, person, whoever … there’s no better thing to be involved in.”

(Via: NY Daily News)

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