Have you ever broken a bone and had to wear a cast? You may noticed that today’s casts are not conducive to everyday tasks like writing or typing. Medical casts can smell really bad when taking them off.
Jake Evill broke his hand when trying to save his friend during a fight. Evill had to wear a case for several months shortly after graduating from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.
“I was surprised by just how non-user friendly those cumbersome things are,” Evill said. “Wrapping an arm in two kilos of clunky, and soon to be smelly and itchy, plaster in this day and age seemed somewhat archaic to me.”
This is why Evill decided to design a 3D cast called the Cortex cast. The Cortex cast is still a prototype – it is lightweight, washable, recyclable, and is nicely ventilated. Evill started by researching the structure of the bone and decided that the lattice-shaped structures that form the inner tissue of a bone to be his inspiration.
“It was this honeycomb structure that inspired the Cortex pattern because, as usual, nature has the best answers,” said Evill. “This natural shape embodied the qualities of being strong whilst light just like the bone it is protecting within.”
Patients would get their fracture x-rayed and the injured limb 3D scanned. A computer would determine optimal patterns and the structure of the cast with denser materials focused on the fractured areas of the bone to offer more support. Evill hacked a 3D scanner from the Xbox Kinect for his prototype.
The casts also brings in plenty of air to prevent itchy feelings associated with having a cast on. The Cortex cast has similar fitting systems as other casts.