3-D printing technology has led to people printing everything from houses to new ears. Now a designer says he’s come up with a better, stronger cast for broken bones that would actually allow you to scratch!
Designer Jake Evill, calls it Corkex and it borrows a page from the insect world creating an exoskeleton to protect your internal skeleton.
Medical professionals would take an X-ray of a broken limb, then do a 3-D scan to determine the exact dimensions of the limb and a 3-D printer would generate a cast that provided optimal support for the injured area and be an exact fit for the patient. The cast would be printed off using a strong nylon fiber.
It would print off with one side open and once medical personnel fitted it to your limb, it would snap closed with built-in fasteners. It would be reinforced near the injured area.
The cast would be slim enough that a patient wearing one could still wear a long-sleeved shirt. Evill points out that the most common fracture is a wrist fracture and this type of cast would allow for more mobility of the hand.
Because of the design of the membrane, the whole cast would remain ventilated and washable. Anyone that’s had a limb encased in a cast for weeks knows what it is to long to be able to wash it. The cast would also be recyclable.
The cast is still in the development stage, but points out another way that 3D printing could change our everyday lives.