3D printed prosthesis has given a two-legged Chihuahua (Leo) a big boost for mobility. Leo soon got to grips with the 3D printed tailor-made wheel chair that was printed by the staff at California State University Channel Island.
Camarillo resident Yevette Bocz first set his eye on Leo (Chihuahua) at the Riverside County Animal Shelter she knew she had made a friend for life. Leo was abandoned as a pup because he was born with just two legs. But he learned to hop around on his hind legs like a bunny. “We immediately clicked,” Bocz told CBS, “and he’s basically been with me ever since.”
The two-legged dog Leo is full of enthusiasm and moves around relatively freely hopping from place to place. Despite of Leo having same energy, his growing years are starting to take toll on his overworked shoulders. Leo never did feel that he was different from other dogs. In order to ease Leo’s life and lower the pain she started seeking for help. Bocz contacted Phil Hampton, who is a professor at Cal State Channel Islands whom she had met in an alumini organization.
When Bocz made the first call to Prof. Phil Hampton a year ago, he was busy organizing the science carnival. Luckily, they once again ran into each other in January at Oxnard’s Gull Museum. However at that time Bocz was all well-equipped to convince Prof. Hampton to get on board and do the needful for Leo who was right there in her car. “It was love at first sight,” Hampton admitted. “He’s such a cuddly little guy. I thought: ‘Yeah, I’ll help you with this. Let’s see what we can put together.’’
Prof Hampton took help of Lorna Profant who is a biology lecturer with expertise in anatomy and philosophy, they geared up the university’s $22,000 Stratasys 3D printer and setup a preliminary 3D printed prosthesis for Leo. The 3D printer prosthesis consisted a felt-lined cradle to support the Chihuahua’s (Leo) body, also three legs and three (non-printed) model aircraft wheels hooked up at the foot of each leg. A harness was bought from the pet store that kept the device firmly secured to Leo’s body.
When both the scientists came to Bocz’s resident on Valentine’s Day, were frustrated as the 9 pound Chihuahua still struggled with the weight f the new prosthesis. Both of them were eager to overcome the determined problem, as a result the Cal State Channel Island academics got back to the lab to work on the second model that eases the Chihuahua’s problem. On Friday when Prof. Hampton visited the house, Leo was moving more freely and ad took his new 3D printed prosthesis with an ease. This time his shoulders were firmly supported with the 3Dprinted frame and Leo was able to walk with his back legs but without making extra efforts. Both Bocz and and Prof. Hampton he that the3Dprinted prosthesis will give Leo the freedom to move around freely and play like never before.
For Bocz it was a real treat to see Leo using his 3D printed wheelchair. Witnessing Leo moving around cheerfully without any difficulty Bocz eyes started watering with tears of happiness.“It’s like watching your child walk for the first time,” she explained. “Just watching him actually use his back legs like regular walking motion and wagging his tail. I see the potential that lies ahead for him. I’m very, very happy.”
With the success of Leo’s 3D printed prosthesis, Prof. Hampton and Profant decided to publish the printable of the 3D printed prosthesis online. With this step anybody who has a 3D printer will be able to print their own dog wheelchair. Leading the owners getting their disabled dog back onto its feet.