A New Leash on Life for Misty

Dr. Kelly Cooper, Owner of Clifton Park Veterinary Clinic, reached out to the Advanced Manufacturing program after learning of the student’s capabilities through a mutual friend and wanted to offer the challenge of designing and implementing a prosthetic for her dog Misty.

A key component of the Early College Career Academy (ECCA) program is work-based learning and giving students the opportunity to work on industry challenges with area business partners. This was the first opportunity to work on a project like this and the students were very excited about it.

This project challenges the students to work through the engineering design process to come up with a solution to a real-life problem. It involves communicating with a customer (Dr. Cooper) in order to identify design requirements. It also gives the students an opportunity to work as a team to develop prototypes and test their ideas.

Instructor Sarah Schutz said her students are utilizing the following skills, “communication within their team and with a customer, walking through the steps of the engineering design process, 3D modeling and 3D printing, troubleshooting, to name a few.”

The biggest challenge has been creating a design that stays secured to Misty’s residual limb. The students are learning that an idea that looks good on paper may not be the best solution when put into operation. There is also limited access to Misty which slows down the ability to test prototypes and make adjustments.

Despite obstacles, the students said knowing their project will make Misty’s life better made the challenges worth it. When the prosthetic is complete, it will allow Misty better weight distribution and take some of the stress off of her other hind leg. A prosthetic will also help protect her residual limb from injury caused by continually striking the ground as she’s playing outside.