A two-legged dog with a pair of wheels for front legs, which garnered worldwide attention, has a San Diego man to thank for his new wheels.
The Chihuahua named “Turboroo,” who was born without his two front legs, was just a small puppy when someone dropped him off at an Indianapolis veterinarian’s office with a note suggesting he be euthanized if he can't be properly cared for.
A technician at the veterinarian’s office took him in, giving him a second chance at life. She pieced together a tinker toy-like contraption to help him walk, but it wasn’t until San Diego’s Mark Deadrick saw a photo of the pup online that Turboroo got a real chance to run.
“I knew I could make something better,” said Deadrick, who owns 3DYN, a company that develops aerospace products.
Deadrick said it was like a personal challenge. Less than 24 hours later, he'd designed the wheeled legs and watched them come to life through his 3-D printer.
“The weight of the dog is pretty low, so we can use some off the shelf parts," Deadrick said. "We’re using inline skate wheels for the really small dogs. We’re using scooter wheels for the medium sized dogs.”
Deadrick was as surprised as anyone to watch the dog and his invention go viral.
The story is sparking interest on all sorts of new animal prosthetics, but Deadrick is also working on new ways to help humans and is excited about the future of 3-D printing.
“Eventually, if we’re talking prosthetics, I don’t see any reason why within the next 15 to 20 years we couldn’t print someone a new arm or a new leg,” he said.