Human or animal, prosthetics are making their way into the lives of the disabled. In Colorado, OrthoPets has manufactured devices for over 13,000 animals. A new medical algorithm is helping paralyzed patients to “relearn” muscle movements. But it seems the most advanced therapy of all is in the hands of the U.S. Navy. The Office of Naval Research is developing smart prosthetics that can also monitor health.
[The] prosthetic limb [has] built-in sensors that can track changes in movement, various health issues, and early signs of infection.
The device detects pH levels, body temperature, strain levels, and whether the prosthetic needs to be replaced.
“One game-changing application of this technology would be as a tool to inform doctors when prostheses can be safely loaded after surgery, leading to more accurate determination of when patients are ready for physical therapy after receiving a new prosthetic.”
In other words, the prosthetic is a glorified Fitbit with far more physical benefits. While I’m assuming it’s possible the prosthetics will be pricey, at least they’re available for veterans who need them.
We all know prosthetics don’t make for an affordable buy. They start at roughly $1,500 for animals, which means devices for humans are expectedly high-priced. To ease the physical and financial burden on young amputees, Stephen Davis builds them prosthetics — for free!
“We build them in a range of colors, whatever the child needs,” Designs he’s created have included Iron Man, Lego, and Spider-Man themes. He’s even built glow-in-the-dark arms.
When Davis posted online about the lack of options for people who needed prosthetics, an e-NABLE volunteer named Drew Murray saw his frustrations and together, they ended up building Team UnLimbited. The team uses a 3D printer to create the free prosthetics.
While the loss of a limb is definitely not cool, these funky prosthetic limbs sure seem to be. Davis, born without a left hand, covers the costs of printing himself, along with donations received by Team UnLimbited. He expects nothing in return (except maybe a sobbing parent).
“Our arms are specifically designed to stand out [and] show off a child’s personality,” Stephen [said] . . . They are also made to be easily usable and lightweight.
Did I mention his prosthetic template is free to use online? He may be modest, but Davis is nothing short of a miracle worker.
From learning sign language to aiding baby cheetahs, I think it’s safe to say dogs make the world a better place. (Not to mention cuter) But some dogs need our help, too. With the amount of dogs needing prosthetics at a high, animal medical centers are doing what they can. OrthoPets in Colorado is now the biggest prostheses manufacturer for tripod dogs.
“We have about 20 different devices that we can fabricate,” said OrthoPets founder Amy Kaufmann. The procedure is multi-step and involves advanced computer scanning and 3D printing.
OrthoPets has worked on more than 13,000 animals from 35 different countries since 2003. And not just dogs; peacocks and llamas are among the animals they’ve built devices for.
While the devices don’t come cheap (they start at around $1,500) owners claim they are worth it.
“Clients are treating their pets as they would their child, and when they learn that they can do something to help their pet in the same way they would for their child, they choose to do it for their dog as well.”
Who says a dog isn’t a real baby?