3-D printed jaw helps injured sea turtle eat again

Scientists say a sea turtle injured by a boat propeller may soon be able to return to the ocean, thanks to a metal beak created with 3-D printing, BBC.com reported.

Staff at the Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation center at Pamukkale University in Denizli, Turkey, nursed the injured 99-pound sea turtle back to health, but they realized the reptile would need a new beak if it was ever going to be self-sufficient at sea, as its jaws had been sheared off in the accident.

According to the BBC, the rehabilitation center reached out to Turkish company BTech Innovation, which creates customized medical prosthetics and implants for humans, to see if they could do the same for the turtle.

BTech Innovation took detailed scans of the turtle’s head to generate a design of its new medical-grade titanium beak.

Thanks to the technology, the turtle, whose name is Akut-3, is now able to eat on its own. Akut-3 is on the mend at the recovery center and will be able to return to the ocean after staff ensure it has adapted to its prosthetic jaw, staff say.

The BBC reported a tortoise in Denver also benefitted from prosthetic technology. In March, the reptile, named Cleopatra, received a customized plastic shell designed by a student at Colorado Technical University after her natural one deteriorated because of a poor diet.

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