Way back in 2014, a loggerhead sea turtle was in a dire state after having a hole in her shell. When she was rescued near a power plant in New Jersey, the team from San Diego’s Birch Aquarium joined forces with the Digital Media Lab at UC San Diego Library to find a way to save her life and nurse her back to health. The team not only fed her and took care of her, but they also created the first ever 3D printed shell brace for sea creature care in 2017.
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This was done to cure the turtle of the abnormal curve in her spine and paralysis of her back flippers. “We teamed up with the Digital Media Lab at Geisel Library to create a brace that will prevent the shell from curving further downward and will promote more normal growth. It’s our goal to prevent further complications and keep her as healthy and happy as possible,” said Jenn Nero Moffatt, senior director of animal care at the aquarium.
The people at Digital Media Lab performed a blue light 3D scan of the turtle’s shell so the brace they made could fit perfectly, and would prevent further complications. Now, six years later, the loggerhead is living her best life. She is now about 3 feet long and more than 2.5 feet wide. Additionally, she now weighs 210 pounds, which is way more than 75.4 pounds, which was her weight when she was rescued.
Image credit: birchaquarium / Instagram