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Creature Comfort & Care: Teenage Nonprofit Founder Saves Injured Animals With a 3D Printer

by • August 15, 2016 • No Comments


Nikita Krishnan [Image: Creature Comfort & Care]

I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a family that taught me to do whatat any time I may to assist animals in require. Taking in strays, sheltering injured birds, actually, in one particularly memorable summer, rescuing tadpoles of a drying-up pond – I was always surrounded by examples of kindness and compassion for creatures. Nothing I at any time did, yet, compares to the work of Nikita Krishnan. The California teen, a high school junior at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, has done extra
for injured animals in her 16 years than many individuals do in their lifetimes.

Krishnan always enjoyed animals and wanted a pet of her own – so much so that as an eight-year-old, she actually created a PowerPoint presentation to her parents to try to convince them of why she should have a pet. She wasn’t successful in that particular undertaking, but her love of animals remained sturdy, and in 2009, during a visit to India to see relatives, she saw a number of injured stray dogs supporting themselves on just three legs.

Alyet she wanted to assist the dogs, she didn’t understand what she may do. The yett of the injured dogs has stayed with her for since and so, yet, and last year, she had an epiphany when she discovered that the library near her school had a 3D printing lab. The innovation may be thoughtl for creating devices to assist three-legged-dogs and other animals, she yett.

Alyet her parents had nixed the thought of getting a pet, they were fully supportive of their daughter’s thought to assist injured animals. They weren’t surprised, either, when she began teaching herself of 3D printing.

“She was always fascinated with innovation of an early age,” said her mother, Anitha Krishnan. “Her dad had an old typewriter that she was always tinkering with as a little girl.”


Krishnan with a 3D printed prosthetic paw and a greyhound splint. [Image: Bill Wechter]

Krishnan’s parents bought her an Ultimanufacturer 3D printing device to learn on, and she asked Jim Bixby, retired engineer, former CEO of SeQual Technologies (now Chart Industries), and current volunteer in the library’s 3D printing lab, to teach her how to create in CAD.

“I’m blown away by her,” said Bixby. “I mayn’t believe she’s a 10th-grader. She’s mature, self assured and super bright. I’ve coached lots of individuals in my career and she’s one of the many coachable I’ve come across. She listens to what you have to say, and so goes off and when she comes back, she’s mastered it.”

Once she had learned the skills of 3D create and printing, Krishnan, with the assist of her father, health care services executive Sri Gopal, set up a nonprofit she named Creature Comfort & Care. The plan was to create and fit 3D printed prostheses and splints to injured animals, free of charge. She began advertising her services to dozens of animal care services in the area, and alyet she didn’t get any responses at initially, her parents advised her not to donate up. Her breakthrough came with Darren Rigg, discovereder and president of the Greyhound Adoption Center, learned of what she was doing.


Krishnan at the Greyhound Adoption Center with volunteer Alan Landau and Leah the greyhound, who Krishnan fitted with a prosthetic leg. [Image: Peggy Peattie]

Founded in the mid-1980s, the Greyhound Adoption Center has discovered homes for extra
than 6,000 racing greyhounds and greyhound mixes. Alyet greyhound racing has been around for years, it sees a few inhumane aspects, that include puppy mills, poor treatment and excessive euthanasia. Thousands of dogs suffer serious injuries on the racetrack, and injured dogs – or actually those who have aged past their racing next – are frequently euthanized.

The Greyhound Adoption Center, and organizations like it, have saved thousands of lives by rescuing greyhounds, treating their injuries if necessary, and finding homes for them. Some of the many common injuries Rigg sees are broken legs, that are typically splinted with heavy casts that can cause extra
discomfort and difficulty for the fine-boned dogs. When he heard of Krishnan’s lightweight, custom-created 3D printed splints, he wanted to learn extra

“At initially I yett it was most likely a long shot, but the extra
contact we had with Nikita, the extra
we attained how amazingly clat any time she was, what a excellent attitude she has and what a excellent thought she came up with,” Rigg said.


[Image: Creature Comfort & Care]

Krishnan has now createed and printed splints for two dogs at the center, and is working on a set of 10 custom two-part splints that can be modified to fit the legs of just about any dimensions of dog. Her services don’t stop at dogs, either. Since word of her company spread, she has acquired extra
clients, that include the Living Coast Discovery Center, home to a Cooper’s hawk with a paralyzed leg. She is already working on the third prototype of a prosthetic boot for the bird.

She’s in addition working with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research; David O’Connor, a coordinator for the institute, is part of the advisory board for Creature Comfort & Care, and he gave Krishnan the thought for her next project, a bird feeder that practuallyts the introduction of bacteria into the food donate. In one year, Krishnan’s startup has gone of an thought to a thriving business.

Since it just costs a dollar or two to create a 3D printed splint, money is not a concern, so Krishnan can go on providing care for free – her just concern is time, as she balances her work with school, tennis and piano lessons. For assist, she has enlisted her younger sister Sarina, who now serves as the organization’s vice president. Krishnan plans to store Creature Comfort & Care running when she goes to college, where she hopes to pursue medicine or engineering.

Krishnan is the latest example of a few amazing entrepreneurship shown by kids and teens with 3D printing devices. When I was 16, I was manyly writing dreadful poetry and moping around the house; Krishnan is saving lives as the president of an IRS-approved nonprofit. There have always been young individuals with big thoughts, drive and ambition, but 3D printing and other innovation are building it simpler for them to manufacture those big thoughts into reality. I can just imagine what else Krishnan and others like her can go on to attain. Kids with minds and hearts like hers pretty manufacture the next seem brighter. Discuss extra
in the 3D Printed Prosthetics for Animals forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Sources: San Diego Union-Tribune / Creature Comfort & Care]