When an 18-year-old dog named Sienna lost her eyesight, she started colliding into door frames and walls. Her owner, Chad Lalande, feared she might suffer from head trauma as a result, which is why he harnessed the power of his brand-new 3D printer to create prototypes of a device known as a “blind dog halo” in order to help Sienna.
This device is designed to help dogs with vision problems get around, acting as a bumper that fits around a dog’s head. When the furry creature runs into something, the halo will hit it first and keep the head protected. Blind dog halos tend to be quite pricy, but by using the 3D-printer and two software programs (Lightwave 3d and Cura), Lalande could cut costs and design a halo perfectly suited for Sienna.
Designing such a hallo wasn’t an entirely straightforward process. The first couple prototypes were too narrow, allowing Sienna to poke her head over the protective bar. The next couple prototypes turned out to be too heavy, with the protective hoop falling to the floor when Sienna wore the halo. However, thanks to a suggestion from a member of a 3D printing Facebook group, Lalande created the perfect design by adding a curved bar from the front of the hoop, over Sienna’s head, to the part of the device circling her neck.
As reported by FreeThink, this kept Sienna from bumping into things, and, thanks to the extra bar, she also couldn’t get it stuck under doors, which had been a problem with earlier designs.
“Sienna doesn’t like to wear it all that much,” Lalande told Freethink, “but it is still better than banging her head into things.”
Although Lalande has made his designs for the blind dog halo available on an open source website, he doubts many people will be able to use it since the design must be printed in one piece and requires a larger build plate than most 3D printers have. That said, Lalande does plan to design a version of the device that would fit larger dogs and be printable in sections.
This isn’t the first time we’ve written about people creating devices using 3D-printers to overcome disabilities and making them open source for everyone to use. In January, we wrote about a community of TikTok users that designed a 3D-printed medicine bottle for people with Parkinson’s who have trouble removing tiny pills from a bottle of meds when their hands are shaking.