We make amazing advancements using technology. These technologies are not just for human benefits though, I’m going to look at how these advancements are used to save and enhance lives, everyday in our World.

Derby the dog is a heartwarming example showing that it’s not just humans reaping the benefits of 3D printing. Derby was born with two shorter, under-developed legs, which impacted his mobility. After being taken to the Peace and Paws Dog Rescue by his previous owners who could no longer care for him, Derby was fostered by Tara Anderson, director at 3D systems, a 3D printing company. After trialing a wheeled cart to aid his mobility, Anderson suspected her team of designers could do better. The designers at 3D systems began crafting a set of custom prosthetic legs that would help Derby to move more naturally and freely. After a few different trials, Derby was ready to try his finished set of prosthetics! Derby now runs freely using this technology and has newfound freedom of movement, the ability to run on concrete and the ability to play with other dogs too.

Bionics and prosthetics are changing the way we treat our best furry friends, with pioneering work-becoming mainstream and with shows like ‘Supervet’, we’re hearing about these procedures more and more.

It’s not just our pets that are benefiting from life-changing and life-saving treatments. Technology is helping to protect and save wild animals too.

Buttercup the duck was born with his foot turned backwards, which left him struggling to waddle. After being adopted by the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary, they enlisted the help of a 3D modeling company. Due to the flexibility needed in a ducks foot, 3D printing wasn’t an ideal way of making a foot for Buttercup, however it was possible to make a 3D printed mold in order to create a foot made from flexible Silicone instead. Buttercup waddled around fantastically with this foot, but struggled to swim, which is when a special swim foot was created for him. After some uncertainty, Buttercup began swimming effortlessly through the water, navigating no differently than the other ducks.  

In the wild, technology is helping to protect endangered species and is providing research about how we interact with them, in the hope of reducing human-animal conflicts. Smart Collars are a great development for endangered species as they use GPS and accelerometer technology to not only track the animals location, but to see how it is moving, when it is hunting and indeed, what it is hunting too. It is hoped that by using this technology we can better understand the animals and predict their behavior, and will hopefully be a complete game changer for how we interact with animals in the wild.

As technology gets smarter, humanities capabilities increase and with it our ability to help other species in the most unique way.

Written by

Katherine Thomson