30 June 2013

A 3D-Printed Exoskeleton Concept Provides More Support For Broken Limbs

Designer Jake Evill has created a 3D-printed cast concept that is more flexible and wearer-friendly than traditional plaster cast for break and fracture patients,

The design is dubbed the Cortex Exoskeleton and could potentially provide more structured support for broken limbs while also being lighter, stronger, and more convenient than existing traditional plaster casts.

Traditional plaster casts are usually made of a substance that, when mixed with water, solidifies around a skin of bandages.

Evill’s Cortex Exoskeleton concept addresses those factors of traditional casts' lack of waterproof ability by using advanced 3D printing techniques. An X-ray of the break is combined with a 3D scan of the limb, and then a custom sleeve is printed, complete with extra “membrane” structuring around the exact point of the injury.

The cast is left hinged and unfastened, so that it can be fitted around the wearer and then snapped shut, using integrated fasteners. Even when closed, however, the limb is still open to washing – and the cast itself is waterproof – while also being slim enough that a regular shirt sleeve will fit over it.

The nylon structure would take some time to print, roughly three hours it’s estimated, from the algorithmically-calculated CAD plans, but once produced would immediately be durable; that’s unlike existing casts, which demand a period of up to three days to set fully solid.

[via JVNK]