Echo Dog Prosthetic Case Study
When a dog loses a limb, it affects both the dog and the owner. Canines with such injuries can become depressed as their natural mobility and balance are compromised. Their owners can also be affected by seeing their “best friend” hindered by such a horrible injury. As part of an International Design Competition, Shubham Harish, a student at the College for Creative Studies, developed a design for a prosthetic leg for dogs. The Echo prosthetic can have an incredibly positive effect on dogs both physically and mentally.
The Echo utilizes a ReMotion Knee, an affordable prosthetic available through D-Rev. Specifically designed for a dog’s anatomy, the ReMotion Knee joint mimics the function of the dog’s knee by creating the necessary back and forth movement of the limb. The steel springs around the knee are an important feature as they help the leg to snap back to the original position, creating continuous fluid motion and natural movement.
The Echo prosthetic improves a dog’s mobility and balance, giving them a second chance at life while reducing pressure on his body and avoiding potential spinal issues. Echo also helps the dog’s owner deal with the trauma of seeing a beloved pet suffering through the loss of a limb. Dogs with prosthetic limbs are often used as therapy animals to help people going through depression or children who have also lost limbs. Finally, providing an Echo prosthetic to a military service animal that lost a limb during conflict may allow him to continue his service and live a full life.
Model Solution, a Laird business, became involved with the students in the design competition, and built a prototype model of the Echo dog prosthetic. One issue encountered during the model-making process was the manufacturing processes requested by the student. Shubham had suggested using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) in order to 3D-print the main supporting structure using carbon-fiber reinforced nylon to provide rigidity and strength. However, it is difficult to apply finishes to SLS 3D-printed parts, so the MS engineers suggested CNC machining the structure from ABS plastic. Also, the Model Solution engineers were concerned about shrinkage during the manufacturing process if rubber was used for certain parts, so they suggested that the parts be made of hard plastic instead. In order to provide the rubber-like feel that the student wanted, they were then painted with soft-touch paint. Urethane rubber was used for the liner rather than silicone, as the silicone could not be glued to the other materials. One functional aspect of the design was also addressed, as the prosthetic needed spring-back motion at 45 degrees.
The process for building the prototype model for the Echo dog prosthetic included structural design work, CNC machining, wet-sanding, plating, painting, screen printing and final assembly. The Echo was built from ABS plastic, pelite sponge foam, urethane, aluminum and brass.
Form, fit and function is vital to determine whether a prosthetic would be successful for a specific canine. Using a vacuum suction socket and one-way liner with multiple small magnetic points allows a tight and comfortable fit. The attraction between points when the dog stump is in the vicinity of the socket helps with the initial fit, and suction helps the stump go all the way in. Pelite, which is lightweight and soft-to-the-touch, was used for cushioning the socket and urethane was used for padding the one-way liner to reduce friction between the skin and socket.
The Echo provides dogs that have lost a limb with a prosthetic that mimics the functions of their original limb and feels natural as they use it. Considerations of comfort, natural movement, communication between the body and the new limb, the need for adjustments and proper fit, and the use of breathable materials have all been met by the Echo dog prosthetic, which is able to return confidence and happiness to both the dog and its owner.
Color Systems and Textures
Echo Dog Prosthetic - End View