Engineering students help disabled dogs
Exoskeleton helps disabled dogs to walk
Last Edited: Thursday, 11 Dec 2008, 5:30 PM EST
Created On: Tuesday, 09 Dec 2008, 11:07 PM EST
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - One Purdue engineering class' senior project has gone to the dogs.
Students in John Nolfi's mechanical engineering class designed an exoskeleton for dogs with hip dysplasia. The condition occurs when a dog's leg and hipbones do not meet properly. The exoskeleton works as a joint outside the body to carry some of the load the real joint can't handle. The carbon composite brace conforms to the shape of the dog and has been shown to improve mobility up to 55 percent.
Senior Jim Bergeron hopes it will improve the lives of dogs. "The dog will kind of step gingerly on it, and then, what we're hoping to see is, when we put the brace on that she'll just be walking around like a normal, happy dog," he said. "I hate looking at the dog here and seeing her in pain, you know, it breaks my heart and so it's going to be fantastic actually if it works so, we're really hoping it will."
Veterinary Surgeon Gert Breuer says they are in the early stages of testing, but if further testing is positive they hope to be able to market the device.
There's a short video, too. This seems kind of neat!