Brave Penguin Can Waddle Again After Getting Custom-Made Bootie, Thanks to 3D Printing

Purps the brave little penguin gets a custom-fit boot after injuring her ankle.

Look who’s waddling now!

 A team of technical experts at 3D Systems’ technology have helped one lucky penguin get a second chance at life after an injury. 

Yellow/Purple or "Purps," an African penguin at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, injured her ankle after a scuffle with a fellow penguin, causing her to limp whenever she walked.

In an effort to care for the brave bird, the aquarium placed a molded cast on her foot to begin rehabilitation.

A local 3D Systems’ partner, the ACT Group, then created a new and improved lightweight, custom-fit bootie specially designed for Purps.

“The process began when 3D Systems’ scanned the cast in a form of her foot using the 3D scanner and design,” Derek Johnson, 3D Systems Product Manager, told

Read: Injured Tortoise Gets A Handpainted 3D Printed Shell 

According to Johnson, 3D Printing refers to ‘three-dimensional design from nothing.’ 3D Printers slice designs in multiple layers and in various ways.

The students from Mystic Middle school were introduced to the penguin and learned about her injury. They also wanted to help design the boot for their new aquatic friend.

Mystic Aquarium contacted the middle school for Purps’ recovery as the school has been known to acquire a 3D printer, thanks to the ACT Group.

Read: College Students Create 'Frozen'-Themed 3D Printed Prosthetic for Girl Born Without Hand 

“The ACT Group has a relationship with the aquarium and the middle school,” said Johnson. “The students were able to put other designs on the cast, including a tread to help the penguin with flexibility.”

Purps’ mobility improved dramatically with the new boot and the students were taught how to develop and design with 3D Systems’ Capture 3D Scanner.

“The printing technology, which includes the 3D Scanner, ProJet, and multi-material printing, opens up many opportunities for prototyping,” Johnson said. “It worked well in this particular situation.”

As for Purps, the little bird is doing just fine and is swimming, walking, and waddling normally with her penguin peers.

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