3D printing could make a broken bone beautiful

3d printed cortex castMost things you read about 3D printing are about how it will change the nature of mass-produced products when you can run one up in your own home instead of going to the shops – the Star Trek replicator analogy. But perhaps the truly revolutionary thing about 3D printing is the capacity to individualise things: And there’s nowhere that’s more obvious than in the medical field.

Jake Evill is a very clever man who’s come up with a suggestion to revolutionise the way we treat broken bones. His idea is to use x-rays and 3D-scans of the broken area as the basis for a completely new style of 3d-printed cast. As he puts it:

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. The Cortex exoskeletal cast provides a highly technical and trauma zone localized support system that is fully ventilated, super light, shower friendly, hygienic, recyclable and stylish.

On top of being specifically designed to provide support where it is needed, the result just looks fabulous. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine this being suggested as a fashion accessory rather than a medical device.

For lots of lovely pictures and more details take a look at Jake’s site here.

Image copyright Jake Evill and Cortex Cast systems.

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