Cortex is a 3D printed exoskeletal cast concept designed to replace traditional plaster casts.
Designed by Jake Evill, the exoskeletal cast provides a strong fractured-bone support system featuring lightweight protection that is ventilated, recyclable, and shower friendly. Jake says, "After many centuries of splints and cumbersome plaster casts that have been the itchy and smelly bane of millions of children, adults and the aged alike, the world over, we at last bring fracture support into the 21st century."
To produce the cast, the patient receives an X-Ray scan during which the break is identified. That specific area is then 3D scanned and the data is fed into the computer to generate a 3D-printed cast. The final product has one open side that is eventually snapped closed with strong fasteners.
Cortex is, of course, just a concept at this point, but Jake points out that it addresses the growing issue of medical waste and a rising number of fractures and breaks.
It’s safe to say that with present technology the 3D-printed method would take considerably longer to fabricate than a typical plaster cast, but the idea is intriguing. It reminds me of the present movement to make prosthetic limbs more beautiful and personalized.