Apr. 30, 2015 | By Simon

Although we are in no shortage of feel-good 3D printed prosthetic stories that include appearances from celebrities ranging from Blue Man Group to Robert Downey Jr. and even the Star Wars Stormtroopers, it is the stories that involve 3D printed prosthetics for our four-legged friends that are sure to hit a soft spot with some animal lovers.

Within the past six months we’ve seen a variety of dogs in all shapes and sizes whose owners have taken advantage of the custom fabrication options that 3D printing offers to develop a solution for letting their furry friends enjoy running and playing again.  Back in December, we saw how a custom prosthetic solution was made possible thanks to 3D printing for Derby - who was born with deformities in both of his front legs.  More recently, we saw how Bubbles the Weiner Dog is enjoying life again after being fitted with a custom 3D printed wheelchair that supports her long torso.  

Now, just as 3D printing helped offer custom solutions for Derby and Bubbles, it is also helping a three-legged service dog named Tiny learn to run and walk on all fours thanks to students at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After noticing that 10-month old Tiny was getting too heavy to support herself on her three legs, Tiny’s trainer, Laurie Maier, reached out to the school for possible help from some students.  

The students, who were a part of the “Human-Centered Making” class taught by science and mathematics professor Gary Lewandowski at the school’s Center for Innovation, used the school’s new MakerBot 3D Printing Center to iterate and develop the final solution.  

Although the students had no prior knowledge of how to design and fabricate prosthetics, they were joined by an Xavier alum - Christine Geeding, a prosthetics professional -  to help them iterate over several prototypes a solution that would both be functional and comfortable for Tiny.

The final leg design was so effective, that Geeding declared it a “Level 3” success on the adaption scale.  In contrast, most human patients of Geeding’s can only reach level 1 on their first attempt with using a new prosthetic device.   “It was fascinating to explore 3-D printing and how it relates to prosthetics,” she added.  

Now that Tiny is equipped with her fourth leg - she was born with three - she will begin going through the physical training component of learning how to become a service dog through the 4 Paws for Ability organization, an organization that provides service dogs to children around the world.  

"Tiny did more than we ever expected," said Mary Curran-Hackett, Innovation Curator at the school’s Center for Innovation. "Her quick adjustment to the prosthetic was incredible.  It may sound funny to say it this way, but we've taken a huge step in the right direction.”


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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wulijun wrote at 9/23/2017 3:41:07 PM:

we need。

http://www.indovance.com/ wrote at 5/31/2015 5:55:17 PM:

What a great article! I love how 3D printing is changing the world.

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