What do an injured turtle and an F-22 Raptor warplane have in common? In this case, they glide thanks to a very similar wing design.
When the green seas turtle Hofesh was brought to Israel's Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in 2009, he had been badly injured in a fishing net and had to have two limbs amputated. The rescuers at first fitted the turtle with a couple of different fin designs—a diver's fin and then one based on a fish's dorsal fin—but they did little to help Hofesh's swimming. He would bump into objects as he swam or have trouble rising to the surface.
Eventually, Shlomi Gez, an industrial design student at Jerusalem's Hadassah College, came up with another idea for Hofesh. Gez looked to Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor for inspiration, designing a pair of wings that help Hofesh stay balanced where a single fin could not.
Hofesh can't be released back into the wild, but with his new wings he can swim much more comfortably and has been moved to a deeper tank with a blind female turtle named Tsurit. Since both turtles are at their sexual maturity, the rescue team is hoping that their pair might mate and that their offspring could then be released into the wild.
Photo credits: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit.
Israeli team designs prosthetic fin to save turtle [Sydney Morning Herald via Neatorama]