Mad Max – the Cyborg Macaw

Max has had a rough few years, he is a 20-year-old Macaw from the Hyacinth Haven Bird Sanctuary in the Western Cape, who got his beak damaged on two separate altercations with other Macaws. The first altercation damaged his top beak, and in the second, it broke off completely, and with only his lower beak left, Max was unable to eat solid foods. His owner, Trevor Glover, who established the sanctuary, took Max to Dr Brendan Tindall at the Robberg Veterinary Clinic in Plettenberg Bay for treatment and evaluation, where they managed to get him to start eating soft foods, but without the top part of the beak to keep the bottom part in check, it continued to grow straight out, eventually becoming longer than his tongue, preventing him from reaching his food, so they had to cut it back again.

Max was taken to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital (OVAH) for a CT scan to check if there was enough remaining beak left to attach a prosthesis, but the detail of Onderstepoort’s CT scanner was not enough to determine this. Luckily arrangements could be made with Eugene Marais Radiology where Dr. Craig Muller was able to do a highly detailed scan that showed fitting a prosthetic would be possible.
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Animal Product Development Process

A few years ago, we started helping vets on projects where animals needed assistance that was difficult to provide, we tried to help where we could by using 3D printing and digital design techniques. As we got more involved in medically-based projects on the human side, we realised that most of the same processes could be applied to the animal side and that there was a serious gap between these two, thus we formed our medical division BunnyMed that would cater for both.
Both working on the same principle, it all starts with an idea, a need, or an issue that a medical professional approaches us with. We collaborate with them to develop their ideas, find new innovative solutions, improve outdated products, and create new ones where needed. It starts with concepts, digital 3D models, and using 3D printing to create prototypes that can be field-tested, and eventually manufacturing the product, bringing it to market. In some cases, there is more than one idea that needs to be explored and we can see the potential to expand on those ideas in a partnership.

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Inventors, Bright Minds and Other Science Heroes of South Africa

South Africa has always been an incredible example of how innovation can flourish in the most difficult of circumstances, with various hardships, lack of resources, and social issues sometimes being the drive to do exactly that … to find better ways of doing things and to improve life for all.
Most of us know about the amazing first heart transplant did by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, putting South Africa on the map regarding medical innovations, but there are so many more amazing inventions and stories, and not just in the medical field but in many other scientific fields.
Author, journalist, and co-founder of SciBraai, Engela Duvenage, set out to compile a collection of these amazing stories into one book, for readers 9-99, featuring fact-based stories & beautiful illustrations of many firsts in local science, engineering, medicine, zoology, earth science, paleontology and many more!

We are honoured to have our contribution towards medical science and innovation with our work on the first 3D printed Middle Ear Implant in collaboration with Prof Mashudu Tshifularo, recognized within this publication. It is truly an honour to share a few pages with the rest of these incredible people that have changed the world for the better.

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Legs 2.0

The Secretary Bird is one of the most interesting and beautiful wild birds found in South Africa, their exotic looks and hunting habits make them a sought after species to observe and thus they have also been crowned Bird of the Year 2019 by Bird Life South Africa. Our story is about a particular Secretary bird called Legs. She was found a few years ago starving with her foot trapped in a snare, she was rescued and brought to the Eagle Encounters Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre based at the historic Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch, a non-profit organization established in 2001. Owner, Hank Chalmers, took Legs in nurtured her back to health, but the foot was badly damaged and could not be saved. Legs lost her foot and had to adapt, now walking on the stump with one leg shorter.

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World’s First 3D Printed Mid-Ear Bones Implant

About two years ago we were approached by Professor Mashudu Tshifularo who is the HOD and chief specialist of the Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) dept at Steve Biko Academic Hospital
At the University of Pretoria about developing a full Ossicle Implant, essentially replacing the Middle ear bones with a prosthesis that could simulate the original bones.

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Beauty in Prosthetics

About a year ago we were approached by Dr. Lionel T. Dean from FutureFactories Studio to collaborate on one of his projects that involved creating a walk-able artwork in the form of a titanium prosthetic leg. We collaborate on a regular basis and thus Lionel knew we could help as this is one of the fields we work in on a regular basis and could quickly connect to the right people to make this a reality.

Lionel handled the design while we helped on a few of the smaller elements, we approached Heinrich Grimsehl, a Prosthetist Orthotist from the ARC. (Amputation Rehabilitation Circle) at the Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, who would be instrumental in helping with recruiting our amputee model Louisa Brown, and also helped with the mechanics of the leg, making sure everything is medically sound. Altair helped by providing software analysis regarding the strength of the design and The Center for Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing (CRPM) at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein, offered their services in the manufacturing of the Titanium components for the leg using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) to produce the 2 Titanium parts. The parts were welded together by the team from the CSIR National Laser Center (NLC) in Pretoria, and then the CRPM’s guys machined the components to make sure all the fittings fit, with a little bit of extra help from the guys at the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP) at the VUT Southern Gauteng Science & Technology Park (VUTSGSTP) to finish it off. The final assembly was done at the ARC. by Heinrich and his team so we could do the fittings and tests with Louisa.

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Jason 2.0

Listen to Jason Laing’s story speaking at TEDX about how he recovered from his injuries using 3D Printing and Virtual Reality technologies. Jason is a frequent collaborator with BunnyCorp working on various projects ranging from jewellery to medical. We are currently in the process of developing new types of prosthetics for animals and humans for various types of disabilities.


Adjustable Prosthetics


For the past 2 years we have been very closely with Pro Paedic developing Adjustable sockets for Prosthetic limbs. We used high end 3D printing to create custom adjustable sockets that not just fits the patient perfectly but also allows them the freedom to tighten and loosen their prosthetic limb as needed improving the level of comfort. So far the medical trails have been going very well and below you will see some results from our latest test on the Mark III Socket. We would like to give a special thanks to the guys at the Center for Rapid Prototyping (CRPM) at Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein for their assistance in sponsoring the 3D Printed socket.  Check out the video below!

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