A 3D-Printed Shell Saved This Turtle’s Life

Jul 14, 2017 at 5:07 PM ET

The life of the Mall of America’s famous Seemore the Sea Turtle was saved with a 3D-printed shell.

In the wild, Seemore’s chances of survival were slim. Her cracked shell left her prone to accumulation of gases under her skin, specifically on her hindquarters, that hindered her ability to dive underwater. The syndrome is known as Bubble Butt Syndrome. Seriously.

The staff at the exhibit in Minneapolis tried to help Seemore by creating a series of weights that could be attached to her shell that helped to counteract the accumulated gases. However, that was only a temporary solution that would often come loose.  The staff eventually reached out to students at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine. The university’s 3D Printing Core met Seemore and created a prosthetic shell for her, using CT scans for a truly personalized fit.

The final prosthetics will be complete this summer.