His name may be Derby—but until recently, he couldn’t run.
Those days, however, are now over, thanks to advanced technology by a 3-D printing and imaging company. Derby, who was born with deformed front legs, was living in foster care with Tara Anderson, director of 3D Systems. Wanting to help the high-energy dog become more mobile, Anderson first fitted him with a cart. But she wasn't satisfied with the results because he wasn’t able to play with other dogs or really run, she explained.
Instead, Anderson and her team went back to the drawing board, literally. They were able to use their company’s imaging technology to design prosthetic legs to fit the dog's unique anatomy. Worrying that a standard “peg” model would get stuck in the dirt, the team created a loop design that would allow Derby to run to his heart’s content. And he does—several miles a day.
But that's not all: Shortly before getting his new legs, Derby received another reward—two new running buddles and a forever home.
Derby was adopted by Sherry and Dom Portanova. Together, they go for runs every day. “He runs faster than both of us,” Dom says.
To help Derby acclimate to his new mobility, the first set of prosthetics were designed close to the ground, but according to the company who created them, he will be given progressively higher models. They posted the following on YouTube in response to comments from confused viewers:
Many of you have pointed out that Derby's prosthetics seem too low. We started this way to give him a chance to get used to his new legs. But with 3D printing it's easy to iterate design, so he is being fitted with progressively longer legs until he reaches his optimal height. Work is ongoing and we are about to 3D print the 4th version of his prosthetics."
See the video and learn more about technology here.