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3D-Printed Cast Lets Broken Arms Breathe Odor-Free

3D printed casts for fractured bones could replace the usual bulky, itchy and smelly plaster or fibreglass ones in this conceptual project by Victoria University of Wellington graduate, Jake Evill. Jake began by researching the structure of the bone. He found that the trabecular, the tiny lattice-shaped structures that form the inner tissue of a bone, to be the perfect inspiration.

Unlike old-fashioned, bulky casts, the new prototype called the Cortex, is lightweight, ventilated, washable and thin enough to fit under a sleeve.“It was this honeycomb structure that inspired the Cortex pattern because, as usual, nature has the best answers,” he said.

The concept uses x-ray and 3D scans of a patient with a fracture and generates a 3D model in relation to the point of fracture to provide tailored support to promote healing.

The cast takes about three hours to produce. Once printed, the Cortex is ready to fit, with one side open to enable access and built-in durable fasteners that snap closed. Each cast is entirely custom-made to each user's body, with the strongest or thickest parts focusing on the specific area of the user's injuries.

Jake notes that the Cortex cast is still very much in the development stage. He’s currently working to perfect the cast and refine the scanning process. The next step thereafter will be testing it on actual hospital patients. One thing is for sure, you'd have a hard time getting friends to sign your Cortex.



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