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Special Tech Avenges Wounded Animals

Doctors and designers armed with 3D printing, virtual prototyping and photogrammetry have assembled in the fight against animal suffering.

While they might lack the strength of Captain America or mystical powers of the Scarlet Witch, a group comprised of specialists have banded together in forming the Animal Avengers.

Similar to the suit of Iron Man or the hammer of Thor, this group relies on 3D printing, virtual prototyping and photogrammetry as the team spec-outs prosthetics with exact size and placement data.

Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the team has reconstructed beaks for toucans, a parrot and a goose, as well as the first titanium beak for a Macaw. But it all started with Freddy - the first tortoise in the world to receive a fully rebuilt shell.

Freddy was found by Dr. Rodrigo “Thor” Rabello after a bush fire completely destroyed his protective covering. Cicero “Hulk” Moraes took pictures of both Freddy and a healthy tortoise in constructing a 3D model.

That design was sent to Dr. Paulo “Vision” Miamoto who used a desk-top 3D printer to build a four-piece shell that Dr. Roberto “Iron Man” Fecchio surgically attached. After hand-painting the shell, Freddy was ready for a return to his natural habitat.

One of their most challenging cases, however, was Victoria, a goose missing most of her beak. Understandably Victoria was a bit aggressive – so who better to handle her eventual solution than a guy nicknamed Hulk.

Her first 3D-printed prosthetic beak was too heavy. So Moraes smashed his old ideas and construed a new beak about one-third the size of the first and with specially adapted airways. Fecchio and Servio “Captain America” Camargo performed the surgery.

While animal prosthetics might not seem like the most prominent use for the technology, every case opens new doors in terms of materials and applications. Today a tortoise shell, but who knows what tomorrow might hold thanks to innovators like the Animal Avengers.

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