3D-printed brace fills gap of damaged loggerhead sea turtle's shell

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A loggerhead sea turtle with a damaged shell received a 3D printed brace to fill the gap.

The reptile lives at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and was rescued from a power plant in New Jersey four years ago. She had a large gap in the bottom right part of her shell. Aquarium officials say the gap, an abnormal curve of her spine and paralysis of her back flippers were likely caused by something that happened to her while she was still living in the wild.

The digital media lab at the University of California at San Diego created a 3D printed brace for the turtle’s shell, and it was a perfect fit and would not encumber her movements.

The turtle was about 74 pounds before the procedure, but has since gained more than 130 pounds.