Inside the BodyWorks Gallery at TELUS World of Science, you can explore an area dedicated to the different type of prostheses and implants successfully used by humans in order to improve their quality of life. This exhibit goes beyond artificial limbs to include cochlear implants and other life-enhancing devices.Here’s something you may not know—animals are now being successfully fitted with various types of prostheses. It’s true! Increasing advances in materials, technology and manufacturing techniques have increased the ability of doctors, scientists and engineers to design and build better prostheses for humans and animals alike. In the past few years we have seen a dolphin fitted with an artificial tail and a bald eagle fitted with an artificial beak.
The latest creature to get a new lease on life using a prosthetic limb is Buttercup the duck. Hatched in a high-school science lab, Buttercup was unable to walk due to a backward-facing left foot that eventually had to be amputated. Buttercup was adopted by Mike Garey, who is part of the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary located in Arlington, Tennessee. Garey was able to take pictures of the left foot of Buttercup’s sister, Minnie and send them to NovaCopy, a 3-D modelling and printing company. Using a 3-D printer, NovaCopy created a plastic mould of the foot that was later used to cast a limber silicone prosthesis. The silicone foot was then fitted to Buttercup, who is now happily waddling about his new home at the sanctuary.
If you want to learn more about human prostheses, visit the BodyWorks Gallery at TELUS World of Science.
Join 3-D printing enthusiasts for a chat and demonstration of these fascinating machines and the technical craze that is sweeping the world. 3-D Printer Village, Sunday, July 28 in the Dyson Innovation Lab.
To see a gallery of animals that have been helped by prosthetics, please visit the Mother Nature Network.