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3D-Printed Prosthetics Help Dog Run For the First Time

| 17 Dec 2014 19:30

Derby the dog was recently given the tools to overcome a physical deformity thanks to a custom made set of 3D-printed front legs.

To call 3D printing one of recent history's greatest inventions would be an understatement. Ever since its emergence, people have been seemingly popping out of the woodwork with new ideas on how to use it for the betterment of human life. Perhaps most impressively, a number of individuals and companies have taken up the task of using 3D printers to produce better prosthetics to improve the lives of individuals suffering from physical disabilities. One recent 3D printing project however, opted to help creatures of a more canine persuasion.

The canine in question is named Derby. Born with a pair of deformed front legs, Derby suffered from limited mobility that prevented him from walking and running in a normal and natural way. While his owners were able to help him somewhat with a wheeled cart, its limitations left much to be desired. Learning about Derby's troubles, Tara Anderson, a director of project management at 3D Systems, decided to assist the poor pooch.

A team at the company fashioned a custom set of prosthetic front legs based on Derby's specific deformation. After wrapping up the design process, they used a 3D printer to produce real world versions of the prosthetics that they then presented to Derby's owners. They wasted no time testing them out and were amazed when Derby almost immediately started running. He now apparently runs anywhere from two to three miles a day.

These results are exactly what Anderson had been hoping for. "This is what 3D printing is all about," she said. "To be able to help anybody, -dog, person, whoever- to have a better life... there's no better thing to be involved in." We're inclined to agree. As nifty as things like 3D-printed RPG minis or custom Barbie armor are, it's people using this expanding technology to do real world good that's perhaps the most exciting.

Source: Daily Dot

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