This is more than an engineering project. I went through a life-changing moment with the successful completion of our product for this project. This is the Disabled Animals project. It is a project where we built products to help disabled animals with their mobility.
At first, we wanted to create prosthetic limbs for animals. Since this particular topic is not the specialty of neither our facilitator nor our team, we had the mission of collecting necessary information for building prosthetics. We contacted and visited many places. The students took the lead and handled all of the communication. We then visited the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, VSL clinic, Animal Rescue Cambodia, and the Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society. Even though we visited many places, we still needed more information so we started reaching out to other people globally. We had video conferences with an animal wheelchair expert from the United States and collaborated with two engineering students from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
After speaking to many different people, we decided to shift our idea of the product. Our new goal was to build a wheelchair for an animal instead of a prosthetic. With our new goal, we started looking up different designs on the internet and found a few that were suitable for our project. Within the coming weeks, we’ve found the animal, took the measurements, and made the first prototype. We tested our prototype with the animal for weeks and weeks and, at last, we had our final design.
We delivered the wheelchair to Quinn, the dog. We put her in the wheelchair and expected her to move and walk smoothly. However, she was just standing still. It was her first time using the wheelchair so she might have been a bit shy. Then, she started to happily walk. From our observations, we could see that she was satisfied and comfortable with her customized wheelchair.
Being able to see her walk smoothly on our wheelchair without dragging her two back amputated legs was an unforgettable moment for our team.
Now, we are working on helping out more animals, including a cat with a spinal injury and a dog with two disabled front legs.