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Disabled dog runs for the first time thanks to 3D-printed legs

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Derby the dog was born with deformed front legs that left him unable to move faster than a crawl. But now, with the help of a team of orthopedic and 3D-printing experts, he can actually run. Alright, so this is basically a three-minute advertisement for a 3D printing company — but that doesn’t mean it’s not heartwarming (and interesting) as hell.

Derby's legs are loops to stop him digging them into the ground

Tara Anderson, a director at 3D-printing company 3D Systems, adopted Derby from non-profit dog rescue Peace and Paws. "I kept looking at his photo and reading his story, and I cried literally every time," says Tara in the video. So she decided to do something about it and created a pair of specially fitted prosthetic legs for Derby, built in a loop configuration similar to kids’ "jumping shoes" to stop him digging them into the ground. The result is one happy dog.

The real story here is that 3D printing and scanning have proved to be an ideal solution for certain orthopedic and medical problems. Scanning makes it easy to get a smooth fit and 3D printing makes it cheaper and faster to update designs. Derby is the perfect example of this: he’s starting out with a pair of legs that are low to the ground to stop him hurting himself but 3D Systems is planning on fitting him with "progressively longer legs until he reaches his optimal height."

Verge Video Archives: A 3D Printer Saved This Kid's Life (Detours, Season 2, Ep. 2)