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Futuristic Medicine: Check Out Cortex, a Brilliant Alternative to the Traditional Cast

I was in the seventh grade when I broke my left arm. It was in 1979, so naturally I was roller skating at the local rink. I was skating backwards to “Heart of Glass” when a boy flew past me and whacked his skate into mine. I tried to stay upright but ended up hitting the floor hard, foolishly holding out my left arm in an attempt to brace my fall.

When I was helped off the floor it was clear my arm was badly broken. In fact, both bones in my forearm had broken clean through so my lower arm looked remarkably like the letter Z. You could see the bones trying to break through the skin.

At the emergency room, they set my arm (wow, did that ever suck) and then wrapped it in a splint. Two days later, I went back and was given a normal plaster cast. Within a week, that thing STUNK. It was heavy, smelly, constantly flaking off, and I hated it.

By the time I broke my arm again at age 23 the same arm, and yes, while trying to brace a fall fiberglass casts were available, and my pink cast was far lighter and less prone to flaking. But it still stunk to high heaven.

I wish, so much, that I was given one of these casts instead:

How cool is that? Waterproof, cool looking, and best of all NOT SMELLY. This is the Cortex, a light but sturdy 3D printed cast. It was created in prototype by Jake Evill, and is designed with both the wearer’s arm and the fracture in mind. The cast becomes denser right around the fracture for additional support.

Another great feature? The cast can be worn under shirts and coats. I still remember my mother struggling mightily to keep me warm in the winter while I had my bulky cast on; I usually ended up with my arm inside of my zipped up jacket which kept me off balance and actually hurt my arm a bit. I think this cast will be a lifesaver for parents and kids with broken bones.

Kudos, Jake Evill. Let’s hope this leaps from prototype to reality, and soon.

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