While your friends may not be able to sign this cast, it sure looks a huge improvement on the old one. This new 3D-printed alternative kind of looks like a black plastic spider web wrapped around your arm and it uses an ultrasound device to make your broken bone heal faster. Oh, and it also doesn’t get as itchy and smelly as traditional casts. The cast, which was designed by Deniz Karasahin, allows for better ventilation and is slimmer and lighter.
Old-fashioned casts are nasty, a festering stinksleeves that you wear like a medieval torture device for what seems like forever. 3D-printed casts take care of the smell and itch issues, and now Deniz Karasahin has designed the next step: a custom cast with an ultrasound device to speed up bone healing. Karasahin’s Osteoid is, obviously, just a design concept, winner of the 2014 Golden A’Design Award in the 3D-printed forms and product design category. But it’s based on sound science: low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) has been found to reduce bone healing time by nearly 40% with just one 20-minute treatment a day. The therapy has been tricky to administer, because it requires placing ultrasound leads on the skin directly over the bone injury. That’s impossible with an old-school plaster cast—but not with a 3D printed cast of the future.