This 3D Printed Cast Can Heal Bones Up To 80% Faster
In the near future, having a broken arm could look way cooler thanks to a new, black, lightweight 3-D printed cast that’s patterned like latticework and which uses an ultrasound device to make bones heal more quickly.
Designed by Turkish industrial designer Deniz Karasahin, the Osteoid Medical cast recently won the A’Design Award in the 3-D Printed Forms and Products Design category.
The idea of ultrasonic healing vibrations to heal bones (and other wounds) has been around for a while. But the problem was doctors couldn’t get past the plaster cast to apply the vibrational therapy.
Take a look at the pic below and you’ll see the Osteoid’s skeletal design allows ultrasonic drivers to be placed directly on the skin.
The cast will allow low-intensity, pulsed ultrasound bone stimulation, which has been shown to speed up healing.
“For single 20-minute daily sessions, this system promises to reduce the healing process up to 38% and increase the heal rate up to 80% in nonunion fractures,” said Deniz Karasahin, the industrial designer behind the prototype.
The Osteoid is just a prototype at the moment. However, future production will enable each individual to have a custom-fitted cast.
The cast appears to be an improvement on the Cortex Cast, a 3D printed alternative to traditional plaster and fibreglass casts, designed by Jake Evill, a graduate from the Architecture and Design school at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. Jake Evill won the Icon Awards
Other upsides: The ventilated design means you don’t have to deal with the smell or the itching that is unavoidable with traditional casts, as the Osteoid will “improve the overall healing experience for broken or fractured limbs by focusing on the patient’s comfort and the amount of time needed for the body to heal itself.”
The cast will be slimmer and lighter than regular casts, will be environmentally friendly and water-resistant — but most importantly, will make you look like you’re wearing cool alien tech.
The possibilities are limitless. Researchers are already working on incorporating 3-D technology to create skin, ears, noses, eyes, bones, blood vessels and cells.
Due to the customizable nature of 3-D printing, this technology can be used in nearly every facet of medicine, in ways that we might not even be able to conceive of now. Devices like the Osteoid, as cool and promising as they may be, are just the beginning.