University of Minnesota Alumni Association


Shelling Out for Seemore

U students create a 3D printed exoshell for an injured green sea turtle.

Photo by Patrick O’Leary

About a decade ago, a sea turtle—now named Seemore—was hit by a boat in Florida, damaging her shell and trapping air beneath it. The injury made it hard for her to dive. After spending time in a turtle hospital in Florida, Seemore came to the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium in 2011. Caregivers there attach weights to her shell to help her dive. But, the solution is far from ideal.

So, after a 2017 CT scan at the U’s Veterinary Hospital, a team of mostly undergraduate students began working on a solution. They designed a shell prosthesis—called an exoshell—and, using equipment from the U’s Institute for Engineering in Medicine 3D Printing Core, printed a prototype. They fitted the 3D prototype exoshell on Seemore in early 2018 and hope to have a permanent model this summer. (H/T to Deane Morrison.)

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