As someone who has yet (and hopefully will NEVER) break a bone, I always hear about how bulky, heavy, cumbersome, smelly (from the dirt and sweat) and obnoxious plaster casts are. But now there’s no need to fear; the 3D PRINTED CAST IS HERE!! This 3D-printed “Cortex” cast has the potential to change those negative statements of the conventional plaster casts, even though it heavily resembles fishnet stockings, but it’s such a small price to pay for 3D printed goodness to heal your boo-boo.
The Cortex cast is a conceptual (and still a prototype) project designed by a graduate of the Victoria University of Wellington, who goes be the suspiciously awesome name Jake Evill. The cast is a thin/lightweight (due to its polyamide skeleton), ventilated (in case you couldn’t tell from the picture), washable and the material of Cortex casts could be reused for other uses, unlike traditional plaster casts. The process of developing unique Cortex casts would ideally involve computer software being fed the x-rays of the broken bones, followed by 3D scans of the limb, concluding with a cast design with proper shape with the denser parts of the cast concentrated around area of the actual break. In the end, the cast is printed out in pieces, then assembled around the break along with a set of permanent fasteners. When the injury is healed, the COrtex cast would need to be sawed off like the old-school plaster casts are.
Time is another factor in the production and application of the Cortex casts, as Evill explains:
At the moment, 3D printing of the cast takes around three hours whereas a plaster cast is three to nine minutes, but requires 24-72 hours to be fully set. With the improvement of 3D printing, we could see a big reduction in the time it takes to print in the future.
The only thing I ask is: WHERE WOULD I SIGN MY NAME IF A BUDDY HAD THIS ON THEIR ARM?!?!? THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW!!!
- 3D-printed ‘Cortex’ cast concept puts a modern spin on bone fracture treatment (theverge.com)
- Cortex Exoskeleton Protects the Internal Skeleton (3dprintinginsider.com)
- Don’t Break Your Arm, But If You Break Your Arm Get This Sweet 3D Printed Cast (geekosystem.com)