Technology

Buttercup the Duck gets prosthetic 3D-printed foot

Buttercup the Duck and silicon foot
Image caption Buttercup's new prosthetic foot is helping him to walk and swim more easily

Buttercup the duck is able to walk again thanks to a prosthetic 3D-printed foot.

Born with his left foot turned backwards, the bird had difficulty waddling like a normal duck and could only hobble.

Waterfowl sanctuary Feathered Angels, based in Arlington, Tennessee, asked 3D-printing company NovaCopy to help.

The US company made a 3D model of Buttercup's sister's foot, then printed the prosthetic out of silicone.

A video posted by sanctuary owner Mike Garey shows that the replacement foot, which fits over a nylon sock is taking some getting used to as it is not as flexible as a normal foot, but Buttercup's gait is at least more "duck-like".

The operation is the latest use of 3D-printing to create prosthetic replacement body parts.

In June 2011, a woman in the Netherlands received a new 3D-printed lower jaw made from titanium.

And in May 2013, South African carpenter Richard van As designed a low-cost mechanical hand using open-source software.

Most of the "robohand", which helps people with missing fingers to clasp objects, was made using a 3D printer.

Anyone with access to one can download the design files and create their own prosthetic.

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