Cleopatra the tortoise gets a 3D-printed shell

Please don't jump on Cleopatra if you meet her. She isn't a real life red-shelled Koopa Troopa -- she's just wearing a 3D-printed prosthesis. See, Cleo the tortoise suffers from pyramiding, which means her shell has thick, pyramid-like growths due to poor nutrition. It also has holes and broken parts that could be injured and infected, especially since tortoises socialize and mate by climbing on top of each other. That's why Roger Henry, a student from Colorado Technical University, designed a 3D-printed shell for Cleo.

He spent 600 hours wrangling with software to ensure the tortoise's prosthetic will fit her perfectly, using data from Denver 3D Printing Store's scans of her shell. After that, they used biodegradable corn-based plastic to print out the final product. It will protect Cleo until her shell heals in a few years, now that she's being fed a proper diet by the folks at the Canyon Critters Reptile Rescue HQ in Colorado. Now, excuse us while we call up a producer and pitch a show about Cleo and Derby the dog with a 3D-printed pawsthetic as a crime-fighting duo.

[Image credit: Colorado Technical University]