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Inventor comes up with amazing lightweight cast

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 15th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A New Zealand inventor, fresh from university has come up with an incredible new cast for broken bones. Honeycombed in design, the Cortex Cast is far more lighter and comfortable than traditional plaster casts. The bad news is that it's not yet available, inventor Jake Evill says.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those suffering from wrist fractures have enquired, in hopes of using the cast. "I had to regretfully tell them that it is not at that stage yet," Evill says.

Evill is a recent university graduate in New Zealand. His Cortex Cast's honeycomb structure is similar to natural bone tissue. He says his invention is a viable alternative to the bulk, weight and suffocation from ordinary plaster casts.

Each of the casts are entirely custom-made to each user's body to ensure the greatest support in areas most needed for healing, while following the contours of the hand and arm.

The unique prototype is the result of Evill's senior design project at Victoria University in Wellington. Evill used a home-made 3-D scanner, crafted from an adapted X-Box Kinect system, produced a clear scan of his own arm, one that was recently broken and confined to a cast. His invention was spurred on by necessity and experience.

"It was not pretty, but it worked surprisingly well," he said in an email to the Daily News.

Evill then sent his self-made model crafted from the scan to a 3-D printing company in the Netherlands called Shapeways that produced the final cast out of nylon plastic.

Costing only $80, not including shipping, his invention took all of three months to construct. Evill's Cortex Cast has since peaked interest from orthopedic surgeons in Europe and the U.S.

The cast's concept, he says has been proven by fulfilling the requirements for fracture support - "being extremely strong, fully supportive and lightweight." Tests are still needed as proof, however. "We need to improve the time it takes to print and solidify as well," he added. Those advancements rely on the 3-D printing manufactures.

Evill has been contacted by potential investors, 3-D printing companies and product designers to help make his dream a reality.

"I am currently looking for the best option," Evill says.

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