I never broke a limb growing up, and I always felt a bit left out because of it. I was always jealous of the kids who would come to school with their arms or ankles wrapped in hot pink casts for everyone to sign.
I’m pretty sure I thought it would be cool to wear a cast the same way I thought it would be cool to wear glasses or braces until I actually had to do those things. But this new prototype Cortex arm cast by Victoria University of Wellington grad Jake Evill looks more like conceptual jewelry than a medical device, and I find myself once again thinking it might be pretty cool to wear a cast. According to Evill:
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 21st century. The Cortex exoskeletal cast provides a highly technical and trauma zone localized support system that is fully ventilated, super light, shower friendly, hygienic, recyclable and stylish.
Evill worked with the orthopedics department at his university to develop the design, which uses the X-ray and 3-D scan of a patient with a fracture and to generate a suitable cast with the densest parts near the break. It could then be printed out with a 3-D printer, though at the moment 3-D printing would take much longer than making a plaster cast.
“At the moment, 3-D 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,” Evill said. “With the improvement of 3-D printing, we could see a big reduction in the time it takes to print in the future.”
Even if it takes a while to be functional as a medical device, Evill’s design would already make excellent jewelry. If only it didn’t have to be sawed off.