A sea turtle injured by a collision with a boat’s propeller has had its jaw replaced – using a 3D printer.

Scans of the turtle’s head were used to generate a prosthetic beak, made of titanium, to replace the damaged bones and tendons. A rehabilitation centre in Turkey found the animal, and reached out to Turkish company BTech innovation, known for creating custom-made medical prosthetics and implants for humans.

Medicine applicants should consider how 3D printed technology can be applied to human physiology. Prosthetic limbs are frequently required as a result of trauma, and so a quick solution such as this might pave the way for shorter recovery time for many patients. Students applying for Biological Sciences should consider the chance of rejection as a result of the transplant. How equipped are scientists to deal with transplants, either organic or inorganic, across different species?

The turtle is currently under medical supervision to see whether or not the transplant will be rejected, after which, the turtle will return to sea. Engineering applicants should investigate whether or not 3D printing should be a source of remedial technology in the future, or if there are better alternatives moving forward. 3D printing has been used for many technological solutions, from creating windpipes to fixing airplanes.

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