This is “Beauty,” a bald eagle animal rescue workers saved in 2005 after a poacher shot her in the face, obliterating her beak. Seeing that she was unable to preen or eat on her own, volunteers at the non-profit Birds of Prey Northwest fed her via feeding tube and forceps, until eventually concluding her beak would never grow back on its own. At that point, workers put her on the track for euthanasia.
And that, my friends, is when technology stepped in.
Raptor Specialist Jane Fink Cantwell and mechanical engineer Nate Calvin of Kinetic Engineering Group designed a Nylon Polymer Beak using a 3-D modeling program, and created it using a 3-D printer. Now the bird can “eat, drink, and preen herself on her own,” writes Grist.
Of the amazing products we’ve seen in 3-D printing this year, from imaginative fashion creations like 3D-printed high heels to a vascular network printed in sucrose and glucose, this is one of the most exciting, in what it foretells of prosthetics for animals and humans down the line.
Read the rest of the story at Grist. It’s a doozy.