A dog named Derby is on his way to a science and technology expo at the White House next week, where he will be showing off his legs—his new prosthetic legs, that is. Derby and his owners want to raise awareness of the options for other pets like Derby to run and play using prosthetics made by 3D printers, ABC27 News reports.
Derby was born with four legs, but his front legs are only small forearms and he has no front paws.
He was left at Peace and Paws Dog Rescue in April and found a foster home with Tara Anderson, who is employed at 3D Systems in Massachusetts.
Tara knew it was possible to design and manufacture prosthetics that would enable Derby to run and play, so she enlisted the help of designers Kevin Atkins and Dave DiPinto at 3DS, and Derrick Campana, an ABC Certified Orthotist at Animal Ortho Care, to create a prostheses for Derby.
"The great thing about using 3D technology in Derby's case, is having these images on file on a computer, and being able to print them. It is a lot quicker than having to hand-sculpt every single mold and rebuild these braces five to ten times," explained Campana.
A ProJet 5500X 3D printer allowed for the creation of complete prosthetics with comfortable elbow cups to be printed in a single build, custom-fit to Derby, according to 3ders.org.
Sherri and Dom Portanova adopted Derby in August and made sure he completed the printing process. Derby can now run alongside and even pass them, they say.
Dom Portanova said that Derby runs with them for at least two to three miles every day.
"When I saw him sprinting like that on his new legs it was just amazing,” he told ABC27 News. “I couldn't believe it!"
Derby’s new family says they are just happy his quality of live is improving.
“He’s improved our quality of living, too,” Dom said, “because he’s really been a good dog and a joy.”