Meet Courtney Reckord, Generator’s very first January/February Educator-in-Residence. Courtney is always looking for real world projects that are at the intersection of art and technology for herself and to do with her students. She teaches at Milton High School in drawing, painting, fine metals, ceramics, digital arts and STEAM.
I enjoy doing real world projects with students as much as possible. At one of the Big Maker talks that Generator hosted, Saeed Arida was talking about a project that they worked on with NuVu where students created a prosthetic hand for a child who wanted to be able to draw, so they created a customized hand. I was inspired by that.
Courtney set out to use her residency to bring doggie prosthetics to the classroom. Her students get to experience step by step what goes into designing and creating wearables that require skills in art and design, engineering, and mechanics. What a fun project to introduce students to rapid prototyping equipment like the laser cutter and 3D printers to spark new connections. Just like anyone else, it is always advisable to do a test run when doing something new. Who knew one of the biggest challenges would be to find a furry creature in need!?!
So far I have spent a lot of time trying to find a dog to work with. I didn’t realized how difficult it would be to find a pet that would fit the criteria for this project. After a long discussion with a veterinary surgeon I switched gears a little bit and decided to create a brace for a pet with a torn ACL instead. What I have learned is that most amputations on dogs and cats occur up at the hip joint or shoulder joint, making prosthesis difficult because there is no residual limb. Once you start looking for pictures of dogs with prosthetics, you realize that a lot of them are actually the same dog. Not to say that it never happens, but prosthetics for pets is rarer than I first imagined.
Courtney’s students are looking at pets in a whole new way and can’t wait to get building. Check out the creative strides achieved at Courtney’s show and tell at Generator’s next member meeting on Monday, March 13th at 5pm at Generator.