Discuss 3 Next-Gen Animal Prosthetics Build Perfect Beasts at the Animals and Pets within the DigitalWorldz - Satellite, Cable, Console Forums; Humans aren't the only ones who benefit from artificial (and often robotic) advances in high-tech medicine. Kangaroos, dolphins, birds and even elephants have all received artificial parts. Scientists involved in these efforts believe outfitting disabled ...
3 Next-Gen Animal Prosthetics Build Perfect Beasts
Humans aren't the only ones who benefit from artificial (and often robotic) advances in high-tech medicine. Kangaroos, dolphins, birds and even elephants have all received artificial parts. Scientists involved in these efforts believe outfitting disabled animals with prosthetics can maintain biodiversity and help save endangered species. Here are the tales of three lucky patients from the other kingdom.
By Erin McCarthy
The Gold Beak /// Beauty /// Bald Eagle
She's not the first bird to receive a prosthetic beak, but Beauty might be the luckiest. The 9-year-old bald eagle was found in Alaska three years ago, emaciated and unable to eat because a poacher had shot off 90 percent of her upper beak, leaving her tongue and sinuses exposed. Birds of Prey NW near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, volunteered to care for Beauty; her handlers fed her daily with forceps and the center's founder, Jane Fink Cantwell, took the bird to educational speaking engagements.
It was at one such appearance that Cantwell met Nate Calvin, the owner and co-founder of Kinetic Engineering Group; after the speech he offered to make Beauty a beak. To create Beauty's prosthetic, Calvin took molds of her stump with dental impression material, scanned the molds into a computer to create a 3D “mesh model” accurate to one ten-thousandth of an inch and took measurements of real eagle beaks to determine the size and position of Beauty's replacement. Once he had that data, Calvin was able to create a model of the beak in the computer, then print it using a stereo lithographic assembly process, which used a laser to fuse microspheres of the beak's nylon polymer material together.
In May, Calvin attached the prosthetic to a titanium and gold mount on what remains of Beauty's beak. The process, however, is far from over; this beak is only a temporary solution. Calvin is in the stages of creating a permanent beak, which he says will likely require an implant. Watching Beauty eat, drink water and preen also led to some realizations he'll be using on the second phase of the project. “Initially I had this mind-set that I needed to make the beak superstrong and superlight and rigid,” he says. “After we put it on, I had an epiphany: It's not very smart to make this live up to the performance requirements of an actual beak because the bird's not in the wild.” The final beak, he says, will be polymer-based compliant material, like rubber, that will allow the bird to preen and pick up meat without placing undue stress on her bones. The second phase of the operation—and a move to a permanent beak—will begin this fall.
The 3D Tail /// Winter /// Bottlenose Dolphin
Winter was a baby when rescuers at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Fla., found her with her tail entangled in a crab trap in July 2006. Days later, her tail fell off. But unlike other dolphins, who have lost just part of a tail fin, Winter lost even the peduncle, the joint that controls the up and down motion of the tail. The animal could still swim by using her flippers to get moving and undulate its body like a shark. But trainers worried that swimming in that fashion could cause long-term damage to her spine, so the aquarium teamed up with Kevin Carroll of Hanger Prosthetics, who created a new tail for the stubby dolphin.
To create the prosthetic, Carroll took a mold of Winter's stump; he then took a 3D scan of the mold, which gave him a digital rendering of the stump; the tail was then carved based on that model, says David Yates of Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The prosthetic consists of a soft silicone plastic sleeve that is fitted over Winter's stump. A plastic tail, kept in place by suction, fits over that. The current incarnation doesn't have a peduncle joint, but the team is currently researching how to develop it. “The goal is develop a joint that allows the tail to completely duplicate the motion of a dolphin's normal tail—up and down, sideways and forward,” Yates says. Another area of research involves getting Winter's prosthetic to duplicate the normal amount of thrust a dolphin has in its tail, which Yates says is huge. “That's why so many dolphins can jump 15 ft. in the air,” he says. “The biggest long-term challenge is making it stay on when she wants to jump.”
According to Yates, the ultimate goal is not a permanent tail; anything close to permanent would irritate Winter's sensitive skin. Instead, Winter—who has been trained to swim correctly while wearing the tail—will wear the tail for five hours a day for physical therapy. Winter has gone through ten complete tails (and 100 tail parts) since her first August 2007 fitting. Yates says that Winter will continue to get new prosthetics her whole life. “Tails can wear out,” he says, “and technology-wise, prosthetic limbs and devices get better every year.”
The Mega Flipper /// Allison /// Green Turtle
When a 5-in. green turtle washed ashore with just one flipper, no one at Sea Turtles Inc., a rescue center based in South Padre Island, Texas, thought she would survive. But Allison—whose species is endangered—was nursed back to health on a force-fed diet of squid and antibiotics and grew to normal size for her age. Still, the 10-pound turtle can only swim in counterclockwise circles and has to push her body off the bottom of the tank with her head to breathe. Dr. Sudarat Kiat-amnuay, an assistant professor in Restorative Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, has volunteered to develop a prosthetic flipper, making Allison the first known turtle with an artificial limb.
Though it's still early in the development process, Kiat-amnuay plans to create molds of a turtle flipper, then use silicone, common in facial prosthetics for humans, to create a flipper for Allison. Once the prosthetic is complete, Kiat-amnuay will customize it for Allison. Eventually, it will be attached to the turtle's left rear side, where she has a bony stump, though Kiat-amnuay still isn't sure how they'll attach the flipper.
My sisters poor cat was run over last week, they found it on the pavement someone had hit it picked it up and thrown it on the pavement to bleed to death, sister found it covered in blood... its survived but had to have its back leg amputated, I saw a site that does prosthetics in america for animals (even had a leg for an elephant) couldnt find anyone here that does it, it would be good if it was available for household pets.
You can pretty much buy anything in California or even most of the US for animals.
Prosthetics for animals in the UK would work also, we're a nation of animal lovers. Maybe a business opportunity for someone..
Pfft. I really thought the title said next gen 'perfect breasts'.
That's what grabbed my attention initially, then I saw the animals and thought drat. I posted it anyway, hopefully more people will fall for it.
Originally Posted by mozr
There is a bird at the top of the story though.
so glad i aint the only one lol i was waiting till i was alone till i read this thread lol haha
Originally Posted by mozr
PMSL. Anyone else?
Originally Posted by MFCGAVMFC
To think that I thought you guys were actually interested in the article.
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