The driving force for developing 3D prosthetics was, of course, the desire to help humans who need help. The traditional plaster-based technology usually results in a quite messy and often inaccurate mold that causes a lot of inconvenience for a patient. With new 3D technology (scanning and printing), it is possible now to create a well-designed light and smooth-surfaced prosthetic within just a few hours.
Since 3D scanning and printing is now a well-developed technology, we can now apply the technique to help other species. Scientists have already started working in this direction. 3D tools can be applied to help animals of almost any size. You may remember the story aboutturtle Cleopatra that had a weakening shell and was in a very bad state because of that. The poor animal received a new 3D printed shell; that alleviated her condition significantly.
Another story that went viral is aboutpony Holly that could not walk properly due to her foot disease. 3D-printed titanium horseshoes allowed the animal to walk.
One of the recent examples is a touching story aboutGrecia, a toucan that lost a big part of his beak after local kids attacked him. A successful crowdfunding campaign made it possible to print a new prosthetic beak for an injured bird. Four Costa Rican 3D printing companies are ready to rescue Grecia despite the task being incredibly difficult: they cannot use any chemical components and the prosthesis should be screwed in place. Once the proper 3D material and the attachment method are determined, it would be possible to cure not only Grecia but also other birds with similar injuries.
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