Sea turtle gets custom titanium jaw, thanks to 3D printing

3D printers can make just about anything these days, from bio-printed noses to artificial limbs that even Iron Man would envy. Usually humans are the ones to benefit from this 3D tech, but every dog (or turtle) has his day. In this case, a team of Turkish scientists brought out a sea turtle's inner Bond villain, by 3D-printing a new metal jaw for him.

This little guy is a loggerhead sea turtle, brought to the Sea Turtle Research, Rescue, and Rehabilitation Center in Turkey's Pamukkale University. He had somehow sustained severe damage to his jaws, making it impossible to eat in the wild. To ensure the turtle could return to the wild, scientists turned to 3D printing for the custom prosthetic that could withstand a turtle's powerful snapping jaws.

The researchers partnered with BTech Innovation to create medical-grade implant. First, the research team used CT scans to create a precise 3D model of the turtle's damaged maw. Using the intact areas for reference, BTech created a 3D-printed implant from medical-grade titanium. A veterinary surgeon secured the device in place.

This is the first time that sea turtles have benefitted from 3D printing. Several species of sea turtles are endangered, and this 3D-printed implant may pioneer the technology's use in saving other endangered species, extending their lives so they breed.

You can check out the video below to see the happy turtle chomping around. The audio is in Turkish, but it's visual enough to understand from the video alone.

Source: 3D Print