3D-printed ‘Cortex’ cast concept puts a modern spin on bone fracture treatment
To anyone that’s ever broken a bone, the negatives of traditional plaster casts are familiar: they’re cumbersome, heavy, and can get rather smelly. Victoria University of Wellington graduate Jake Evill is looking to change all that with his Cortex cast. A mere concept for now, Evill says the cast — which is specifically fitted to each wearer based on X-rays of the fractured bone and a 3D scan of its surrounding limb — introduces many benefits. First and foremost, you’d be able to wear a longsleeve shirt over the lightweight, ventilated nylon cast. The open design is also shower-friendly, unlike bulky plaster casts.
The Cortex would be 3D printed on site, according to Evill, and each cast would be most dense near the location of a wearer’s fracture. “After many centuries of splints and cumbersome plaster casts that have been the itchy and smelly bane of millions of children, adults and the aged alike, the world over, we at last bring fracture support into the twenty-first century,” says Evill. His Cortex cast may still be awkward from a fashion perspective, but it’s a marked improvement over where things stand today.