Meet Derby, a Husky mix born with underdeveloped legs and paws. To help, tech firm 3D Systems has printed a pair of prosthetic front limbs that now allow him to outrun his owners.

Derby's previous foster-owner, Tara Anderson, is an employee of 3D Systems, which is based out of Rock Hill, South Carolina. The firm specializes in 3D printers, print materials, and 3D imaging and customization software. Anderson fostered Derby through the dog rescue group Peace and Paws in Hillsborough, New Hampshire.

Because of his congenital deformity, Derby was only able to get around on soft surfaces. He has a real hard time making his way across hard surfaces, like sidewalks and floors, which cause severe abrasions on his front extremities. Derby has used a wheeled cart in the past, but it limits his mobility and ability to play with other dogs.

Anderson, with her background in 3D technologies, knew it would be possible to quickly design and print prosthetics that match Derby's precise dimensions. Indeed, 3D Systems has a specialized sculpting program that allows for perfectly organic shapes and smooth curves. The final design — a kind of loop-shaped brace — now allows Derby to run with a full range of motion. The prosthetic, which literally only took a few hours to build, is equipped with comfortable cups, rigid spokes, and base.

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Using the assistive device, Derby can now run alongside — and sometimes past — his new owners, Sherri and Dom Portanova. Remarkably, he runs at least two to three miles every day.

[ 3D Systems ]