It seems the world of prosthetics is continually taking remarkable leaps and bounds when it comes to helping people who’ve lost a leg walk again, or crafting a new arm or hand that can actually open and close fingers individually. So it’s no small wonder that even sea turtles are reaping the benefits of the increasingly impressive field.
Yu, a 212-pound 25-year-old sea turtle lost her flippers in a shark attack five years ago. Fishermen found her and pulled her ashore and she’s been in the care of the Suma Aqualife Park in Japan ever since. Naturally, Yu has a hard time swimming, so researchers at Suma have been working to make her new flippers to help her glide through the water. She’s tried out 27 different models, but most of those squeezed her remaining stumps too hard, causing Yu some discomfort.
Number 27 seems to be on the right track. Instead of just attaching to Yu’s flipper stumps, the flippers are bonded to a sort of shirt that goes over Yu’s head. The flippers give Yu the proper movement to swim with ease, though the shirt causes drag in the water and researchers want to make more improvements.
ITN News covered Yu paddling around with her new flippers, though there are some grisly scenes of Yu after she was found by the fishermen around the :32 second mark.