Mystic Aquarium shared a video documenting how they were able to rehabilitate a 23-year-old African penguin, known as Yellow/Purple or "Purps the penguin," with the help of 3D printing.
"With the help of local middle school students, ACT Group and 3D Systems, Yellow/Purple received a specially crafted boot that will help her to walk and swim more normally," they wrote.
The aquarium sought help from long-time partner Mystic Middle School, which had recently received a 3D printer from the ACT Group to use resources from 3D Systems to create a boot for Purps.
"The students truly amazed us in how their creative thinking, imagination and intuitiveness led this process," ACT Group Director of Additive Manufacturing Nick Gondek told Fox 61. "It was rewarding to provide them with a technology that could keep up with their ingenuity, and to watch them pick up the software so quickly. It further demonstrates the need to have students learning to digitally design and manufacture at a younger age."
The group scanned a cast of Purps's foot and used the 3D printing software to create a more lightweight boot.
When the process was complete the Mystic Middle School students had learned more about 3D printing and Purps was able to move about more comfortably.
"As soon as we took off her old boot and put her in the new boot, she really just took off across the exam room looking very comfortable in her new boot and walking much more like a normal penguin should walk," Dr. Jen Flower, Mystic Aquarium chief clinical veterinarian said.