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Three University of Illinois students are working on an alternative way to treat broken arms to avoid the associated downsides of a traditional plaster, or fibreglass, cast.
Traditional casts now are rigid, heavy, lack ventilation and itchy. This in turn can lead to unpleasant odours and sometimes serious infections due to lack of air.
Their solution? An arm wrap made of hollow silicone tubes, which is to be braided around the patients arm. Once in place, a solidifying liquid is pumped inside the hollow tubes to harden the cast. This cast is intended to be waterproof, breathable and avoids the pesky itches!
There has already been plenty of research into 3D printing of customised casts which aim to solve the problems detailed above, however they have lacked the flexibility to achieve a fit on multiple patients.
The University of Illinois student’s cast could offer the same benefits of a custom made 3D printed cast, but in a cheaper, more efficient way.