On Feb. 23, Temple Prosthetics and Orthotics club (TemPO) hosted part one of their second annual Puppy Prosthetic Build.
The event, which was held virtually this year and livestreamed to the general public, showcased the partnership between TemPO and high school students from Tower Hill School, an independent school in Delaware. Both groups are working virtually to build a prototype to assist pets that have limited mobility of the hind legs.
Last year, the club worked on a similar project to create a prototype for an actual dog, and the event was documented on Temple's YouTube channel. This year, though, things looked a little bit different.
"We don't have an actual pet that we're working with this year due to COVID reasons, so we are making a parapalegic pet wheelchair for any pet of any size," said Yasmin Johnson, Class of 2023, the secretary of TemPO.
While TemPO has made a name for itself on campus, the club itself is fairly new. During her freshman year three years ago, biomedical engineering major Morgan Rollins, Class of 2021, realized she had enough resources through her engineering experience to build a real prosthetic. What started off as a side project with her friends to build a prosthetic over the summer morphed into something much bigger.
"More people got curious about us and we knew we needed to make it a club. We've been getting members ever since," Rollins said.
She took her passion a step further by reaching out to her alma mater, Tower Hill, which was the place that initially sparked Rollins' interest in engineering. With this year's annual build being on Zoom, she urged Tower Hill students to get involved.
Rollins referring to the blueprints created to bring this year's project to life. (Photo credit: Ryan S. Brandenberg)
Collaboration between TemPO and Tower Hill has been successful for both parties. During the first build, they brought to life the blueprints they had been working on since September. After several hours, they made good headway and used the time to troubleshoot some initial setbacks.
"The first event, as always, served as a time to point out what we are missing. First builds are where you find your errors and figure out where the team is lacking," shared Rollins.
The groups met again virtually on March 30 to finish designing this year's prototype.
"Morgan has been instrumental in helping us to find ways to engage our students in her innovative work," Director of STEM Initiatives at Tower Hill School Elizabeth Brown said. "Moving forward, we are hoping that this relationship will extend even further."
Rollins also has big aspirations to further develop the partnership between her alma mater and her current university.
"This has been one of the most rewarding things I have done asTemPO's president," Rollins said. "I especially love how the teachers who signed up to stay after school to watch the Tower Hill kids were the same ones who helped me figure out my passion for bioengineering."
To learn more about TemPO, check out Johnson and Rollins' Instagram Takeover in Temple's student highlights.