Making an imprint on a life

By Connie Orcutt • Published: March 1st, 2015
Category: Animal Airwaves

A teenager can now shake hands after losing both arms in the Sudanese war, and a dog born without front legs can romp around the yard. Both patients were helped by the same technology: 3-D printing.

The process starts with a computer-generated blueprint of a normal body part on either the patient or a similar individual. Melted plastic is then deposited in layers on the blueprint until a 3-D prosthetic is formed.

Because 3-D printers are ever more common and easy to use, custom-made prosthetics are becoming more affordable and can be made quickly. Multiple copies of a prosthetic can be produced to reach just the right shape and fit.

From a duck in need of a foot to a horse requiring comfy shoes, this revolutionary technology has helped many animals overcome serious challenges. Now that’s a way to make an imprint on a life.