May 21, 2017

In the spring of 2016, when Century College Biology faculty Rahul Kane saw Onya in her owners’ shop, he knew that Century students could help.  As a puppy, Onya was bit by another dog and developed an infection that required amputation from the mid-forearm down. Six years later, with the help of a team of Century College students, she is learning to walk on all fours again, thanks to a new prosthetic leg. 

During the semester, Kane recruited Orthotics and Prosthetics student Rebecca Lingle, and Engineering students Sara Eastlund and Kathryn Lange to design the dog prosthetic. He held regular meetings at Century’s Digital Fabrication Lab. Kevin McCalib, FABLAB coordinator, offered insights into 3D printing process and material. Kane and the students visited Onya, took photos and measurements of the residual limb, and researched and designed two 3D models of the prosthetic. 

After Katherine and Sara graduated and transferred out of Century, Jordan Zunker and Matt Larkey, from Century’s Additive and Digital Manufacturing program joined the team. 

Kane, Rebecca, Jordan and Matt revisited Onya  and envisioned a new design, making comfort, durability and adaptability as the primary focus. They developed 3D models and worked on design, appropriate materials, joints, hinges, angles of attachment and the overall 3D printing process.  The project took several months and the students developed several designs and models.

After refining the design of a 6th model, the team headed back for a second fitting.   After Onya had a few minutes to adjust to the new prosthetic, it was clear to everyone present that the project had succeeded.  ”This project highlights the value of having students from different programs collaborate together on a joint project,” noted Kane. ”It has been a very fulfilling and rewarding experience for the students to help give Onya a better quality of life.”