Cortex: the revolutionary exoskeletal cast that you print out!

Yet another proposed innovation to come from the always-fascinating world of 3D printing – this time the traditional cast for when you break a bone could be completely revolutionised.

Following a few months of his hand being in a plaster cast, Jake Evill, a recent graduate of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, decided that something had to be done about the uncomfortable, irritating casts.

“I was surprised by just how non-user friendly those cumbersome things are,” said Evill.

“Wrapping an arm in two kilos of clunky, and soon to be smelly and itchy, plaster in this day and age seemed somewhat archaic to me.”

So, Evill set about changing the way we think about protective casts and came up with the Cortex cast – a 3D-printed structure that acts as a exoskeleton for the injured area.

According to Jake Evill’s website, “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.”

“It was this honeycomb structure that inspired the Cortex pattern because, as usual, nature has the best answers,” said Evill. “This natural shape embodied the qualities of being strong whilst light just like the bone it is protecting within.”

Although the idea is still just in the development stages, Evill has expressed that he is keen to take it onto the next level.

“There is much work to be done to bring the idea to fruition,” he says. “And I am actively seeking partners to work with in order to make it a reality.”

A visual explaining how the Cortez cast works: