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A 3D-Printed Exoskeleton Concept Provides More Support For Broken Limbs
By Loke Shi Ying, 30 Jun 2013
Designer Jake Evill has created a 3D-printed cast concept that is more 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.
They are also lighter and stronger, making them a much more convenient option 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. 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 can be fitted around the wearer and then snapped shut with fasteners. The design allows the limb to be washable, and the cast itself is waterproof while also being slim enough that a regular shirt sleeve will fit over it.
The nylon structure takes roughly three hours to print, from the algorithmically-calculated CAD plans, but once produced would immediately be durable, unlike existing casts, which demand a period of up to three days to set fully solid.
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