A group of middle schoolers in Mystic, Connecticut teamed up with a local aquarium and the ACT Group, a 3D systems partner, to construct a new boot for a feisty penguin with an injured leg.
Purps, an endangered African penguin that, following an altercation with another bird in 2011, tor the flexor tendon in her left leg, making it nearly non-functional. After creating a boot to support her, she regained some mobility, albeit limited due to the weight of the cumbersome new support appendage.
Luckily, the kids at Mystic Middle School, were able to design and create a new lightweight boot that allowed Purps greater mobility using a recently-funded 3D printer purchased for the school.
“This project not only helped a member of an endangered species, but it gave our students a hands-on understanding of the 3D printing process and how to carry an idea through from a concept to a design to a usable object,” said Sue Prince, library media specialist at Mystic Middle School.
The new boot looks like a baby shoe, and allows Purps to go about her day waddling, swimming and strutting like all the other penguins.