Having broken bones has never been this cool and stylish thanks to the winning design of a 21-year-old New Zealander Jake Evill. The James Dyson Award in New Zealand went to Mr Evill for his lightweight, non-itch cast made out of nylon for broken bones. The 3D printed cast was designed to replace the traditional plaster cast.
Mr Evill came up with the idea to design the 3D printed cast when he felt frustrated of wearing a plaster cast when he broke his hand. He said it was archaic to a fractured or broken arm in a heavy, smelly and itchy plaster.
Mr Evill designed his 3D printed cast using X-ray data and a 3D scan of a patient's broken arm to make a custom-designed cast.
The cast was named Cortex and Mr Evill used a 3D printer to bring his design to life. Unlike most plastic casts, the Cortex has a breathable and snug fit. It has a membrane that looks like a spider's web. The Cortex is waterproof and can be reinforced to protect the area of the arm where the bone was broken.
The judges of the James Dyson Award in New Zealand unanimously chose Mr Evill's design. Head judge David Lovegrove said the Cortex was the embodiment of the whole design competition. Mr Lovegrove said that this year's competition has been the toughest but the Cortex had a marginal lead because of its relevance and benefit to people's lives.
The 3D printed cast of Mr Evill may become the most revolutionary product to treating broken bones of the human body. Mr Lovegrove said that the Cortex is a remake of the traditional plaster cast. It was a different take on digital manufacturing and the way bones are treated in the future.
Mr Evill's 3D printed cast has earned him the chance to show his design at the London Design Festival. His prize package includes $3,000 for accommodation and travelling expenses. He will also get to meet and talk to the members of the British design community.
Mr Evill's Web site explains "The Cortex exoskeletal cast provides a highly technical and trauma zone localised support system that is fully ventilated, super light, shower friendly, hygienic, recyclable and stylish.'' The 3D printed cast could just be the answer to prevent the discomfort of treating broken bones.
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