Science Builds the Bionic Cat

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Science Builds the Bionic Cat

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A veterinary surgeon in the U.K. has brought human civilization one step closer to ruin by attaching two bionic limbs to a cat that was injured in a farming accident.

Oscar the cat had a bit of a bad day earlier this year: While taking a pleasant nap in a farmer's field in Jersey, he was clobbered by a combine harvester that took off his back legs. His owner managed to get him to a vet, where he was stabilized and patched up, but instead of fitting him for one of those little ass-carts with the tiny wheels, the local vet suggested his owners contact Noel Fitzpatrick, a Surrey veterinary surgeon who specializes in prosthetics.

Fast-forward through phone conversations, pictures and x-rays, and Oscar was flown from Jersey to the U.K., where he was measured up for his new bionic legs. Fitzpatrick implanted pegs called "intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics," or Itaps, into Oscar's stumps that left the cat with metal studs where his lower legs used to be.

"The real revolution with Oscar is [that] we have put a piece of metal and a flange into which skin grows into an extremely tight bone," Fitzpatrick told the BBC. "We have managed to get the bone and skin to grow into the implant and we have developed an 'exoprosthesis' that allows this implant to work as a see-saw on the bottom of an animal's limbs to give him effectively normal gait."

The "exoprothesis" is actually two prototype feet that attach to the pegs to give Oscar a more natural degree of "wobble" when he walks. The attachments were designed and built by engineers at the University of Salford, although Fitzpatrick had to make some final adjustments with the ultimate handyman tool. "The key to all great technology is tape," he explained. "Oscar is black and I'm not going to put brown feet on a black cat, so I'm going to put some black tape on."

The final result was pretty spectacular: A few minutes after the sedative wore off, Oscar was up and moving around like a champ, even climbing over obstacles Fitzpatrick had put out to limit the cat's range.

You might be wondering why so much time and effort was sunk into creating and attaching replacement legs for a cat that was too stupid to get out of the way of a giant piece of farm machinery. The truth is that, awesome though cats may be (in a vicious, predatory, "they're-not-cute-they're-dangerous-and-violent" way), the real motivation is hope that the technology can be put to use in people.

Itaps was originally designed for amputation patients with "stump sockets," explained University College London Professor Gordon Blunn, who led the team that developed the technology. "This means they fix their artificial limb with a sock, which fits over the stump. In a lot of cases this is successful, but you [often] get rubbing and pressure sores," he said.

Blunn said Oscar's success showed off the technology's potential. "The intriguing thing with Oscar was that he had two implants - one in each back leg, and in quite an unusual site," he continued. "Noel has some brilliant ideas, and we're continuing to work closely with him to develop new technologies."

What's next for Oscar? Perhaps bionic claws that will allow him to destroy your furniture, maul your dog and kill every bird on the block, better, stronger and faster than ever before. After all, we have the technology; we have the capability.

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Augmented... cat...
Two things I love, combined.
I... I want one...
And if it helps to better adapt the technology to human patients...
I want my fake limbs, already ;~;

Poor cat.

Have you seen a combine harvester? Used to scare me shitless as a kid.
Though how the cat didn't notice the combine, I don't know.

Still, that's great for the cat. Cybercat! Cat 5E! Cats are awesome. I watched my cat fail miserably at catching a squirrel, and be amazed by a tap. Water on, water off...

Greyfox105:
Augmented... cat...
Two things I love, combined.
I... I want one...

Next thing you know your cat will be telling you to come with him if you want to live.

The next step: LAZER CAT!

Now it's only mission in life is to use it's new bionic powers to get revenge on the giant machine of death!

spectrenihlus:

Greyfox105:
Augmented... cat...
Two things I love, combined.
I... I want one...

Next thing you know your cat will be telling you to come with him if you want to live.

...
Feth yeah. I will do whatever it takes to help our new cat-bot overlords.
This kinda fits in with that computer that was so complex that it was compared to a cat's brain...

Why couldn't they have made something less loveable as a bionic animal? I for one don't trust most bionic things.

Poor thing... Personally I'd have bumped it because of the trauma. I mean, those things are damn scary!

There we go Oscar, be glad you're not my cat =D

Do really sly women count as cats?

OT: They are replacing lab-rats with field-cats! What next? Replacing lap dogs with giant pumas?

Technology is a scary thing, I see so much positive potential and negative that its occasionally overwelming to think about.Lets hope this continues to progress in a positive manner. No cyber attack dogs or wire tap implants, but thumbs up for positive prostetic reasearch.

Now all he needs is opposable thumbs to hold the Handheld Portal Device and he'll be ready for the test chambers!

The most ADORABLE scientific creation ever conceived.

Poor kitty. I hope this will help the cat to live a bit more normal life. Yeah, I love cats more then people.

This is how the catapocalypse starts, first the laser cat in TF2 now this.

ImprovizoR:
Poor kitty. I hope this will help the cat to live a bit more normal life. Yeah, I love cats more then people.

I get the feeling anyone with a cat feels that way, since love makes them pick up cat poop, but people poop, fuhgeddaboudit!

Oh but surely you meant to call them "intraosseous transcataneous amputation prosthetics"!

I'll be going now.

ImprovizoR:
Poor kitty. I hope this will help the cat to live a bit more normal life. Yeah, I love cats more then people.

Theres something weird or bad about that?

OT: This is really interesting, will do a lot for the medicine field, both animal and human. I just hope this is more standardized over here when I finally deal with little Oscars.

That's pretty crazy!

Awww! Cute kitteh! And now walking kitteh! Thats awesome! Maybe see same in people too? That would be intresting

Aww, that made me smile, great to see him poking around in a reasonably normal fashion. GO CYBER CAT, DESTROY! This could have some great advances for prosthetics.

In other news. http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=28

KITTY! when i read this, i was ready to bawl that the kitty suffered so much pain, but happy now that little Oscar can leap and bound! "We have the Technology, but i don't want to spend a lot of money..."

I love kitties... I miss my own kitties back at home... /cry.

Augmented/enchanced cat..YES PLEASE! If this means I can save my beloved pets, why the fuck not? I don't give a damn about doomsday scenarios, regardless of bitching, it will happen, with or without you.

«33; - Sniffled. -

Andy Chalk:
A veterinary surgeon in the U.K. has brought human civilization one step closer to ruin by attaching two bionic limbs to a cat that was injured in a farming accident.

HOW can you say that? The cat was freaking saved.
Stop fearing technology.

Andy Chalk:
What's next for Oscar? Perhaps bionic claws that will allow him to destroy your furniture, maul your dog and kill every bird on the block, better, stronger and faster than ever before. After all, we have the technology; we have the capability.

Once again, stop fearing technology.
And cats already shread your furniture without the use of cybernetics.

All these newfangled gadgets. Whats wrong with attaching a wheelchair to its rear like everyone else puts up with? /grumble

Because of this one day cats will mew in binary. I will be thoroughly entertained.

We can rebuild him, we have the technology!

The $6,000,000 dollar cat.

First time I heard of a farmer taking a cat to a vet, more or less shipping it off to become a cybercat. Usually in these circumstances the cat is put out of its misery with a gun on site... Or thereafter eaten by the farmer's large dog.

Reading this article reminds me of that time a year or five ago when they attached the same (or at least similar) prosthesis to a dog without two back legs. There was this large fuss about how they had to drill the prosthesis into the bone and that the first attempt wouldn't stay in, so they had to drill further into the bone with a bigger chunk of steel.

They also have some pretty successful prosthesis for human-kind already. Didn't a woman run some large race with a fake leg fitted with a spring of some type?

Wait a moment. I will find links.

Dog's name was Triumph, an amputee husky. Here's the website: http://www.triumphthedog.net/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggVALdVtdHs

http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=12678335 marathon runner news. It's amazing what you find while running over the internet.

but the question is... will oscar use his bionic limbs for good? ..... or evil!? i had a cat without a tail once, perhaps in this new fangled day and age she could have had a bionic tail, with a swish that could tear through bricks!!!

Zeithri:

Andy Chalk:
A veterinary surgeon in the U.K. has brought human civilization one step closer to ruin by attaching two bionic limbs to a cat that was injured in a farming accident.

HOW can you say that? The cat was freaking saved.
Stop fearing technology.

Andy Chalk:
What's next for Oscar? Perhaps bionic claws that will allow him to destroy your furniture, maul your dog and kill every bird on the block, better, stronger and faster than ever before. After all, we have the technology; we have the capability.

Once again, stop fearing technology.
And cats already shread your furniture without the use of cybernetics.

I don't think he is really afraid of technology, its just a joke.

Mackheath:
All these newfangled gadgets. Whats wrong with attaching a wheelchair to its rear like everyone else puts up with? /grumble

how about the fact that it would screw up a felines very existance? id love to see my cat allan jump the 3 feet from the sideboard to the table with wheels instead of rear legs! actually i wouldnt much like to see that at all, id find it quite saddning :(

dkuch:

Zeithri:

Andy Chalk:
A veterinary surgeon in the U.K. has brought human civilization one step closer to ruin by attaching two bionic limbs to a cat that was injured in a farming accident.

HOW can you say that? The cat was freaking saved.
Stop fearing technology.

Andy Chalk:
What's next for Oscar? Perhaps bionic claws that will allow him to destroy your furniture, maul your dog and kill every bird on the block, better, stronger and faster than ever before. After all, we have the technology; we have the capability.

Once again, stop fearing technology.
And cats already shread your furniture without the use of cybernetics.

I don't think he is really afraid of technology, its just a joke.

I can't seperate such jokes if it is one.
I've spoken with too many technology-scared people <_<

Andy Chalk:

"The real revolution with Oscar is [that] we have put a piece of metal and a flange into which skin grows into an extremely tight bone," Fitzpatrick told the BBC.

A tribe of gibbons into the skin? How did they manage that.

This is pretty cool though. One small step for a cat, one giant leap for bionics.

Bet the cat doesn't have the dih-dih-dih-dih-dih noise and the slow motion though.

Deus Ex 4!

Poor thing, I wonder what the cat thinks about the whole process and if he realizes that his owners hooked him up with some next gen prosthetics.

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