The only good thing about being in a cast is that you get to have all your friends draw stuff all over them. Once you’re out of high school however, that starts getting old pretty quick. Instead, you’re left unable to scratch or wash your limb for weeks, which sucks. Luckily, advances in 3D printing may change all that. Called the Cortex, the 3D printed cast pictured above is a concept and prototype from Victoria University of Wellington graduate Jake Evill that could once day replace the casts of today. Made from a complex honeycomb structure, it allows for air and water to circulate, as well as making it possible to scratch and clean your skin. Sounds wonderful.
The process starts with an X-Ray and 3D scan of the limb, after which the cast is designed and printed specifically for the type of fracture present. It would be attached using non-removable fasteners that remain until the healing process is complete. Made out of polyamide, the casts take about 3 hours to make, while regular plaster casts take 3 to 9 minutes. With advances in 3D printing technology however, we may see the Cortex in hospitals within the next few years. Jake is currently looking for funding to take his idea further.