A new lightweight 3D printable cast design is making news. It's called the Cortex Exoskeleton and it's far superior to regular plaster cast designs. It's water-resistant and small enough to fit under a regular shirt or suit, yet still offers superior protection and support.
Traditional plaster casts are bulky and uncomfortable. You can't get them wet, they make you itch and they eventually develop a nasty smell. Jake Evill, creator of the Cortex Exoskeleton decided to use 3D printing to solve those problems.
"The cortex cast utilizes the x-ray and 3d scan of a patient with a fracture and generates a 3d model in relation to the point of fracture," said Evill. That 3D model is then printed out complete with hinges, allowing it to be snapped in place around the arm of the patient.
Because the 3D scans are so precise, the final product is completely customized. It fits the arm of the patient exactly and contains extra support where it is needed most; right at the fracture point. The Exoskeleton is also designed to leave as much skin as possible open to the air, allowing for better personal hygiene.
The only downside to the Cortex Exoskeleton is the three hours it takes to print a complete cast. Even with a three hour print time, the Exoskeleton still surpasses traditional casts. Plaster may go on quickly but it takes up to three days to completely cure.
The Cortex Exoskeleton is still in the early phases of development. If it takes off, we can look forward to seeing it in hospitals within the next few years.