The Cortex Cast is created along the look of the trabecula, nature’s way of building support inside of the bones. The 3D printing program incorporates data from the x-ray and the scanned arm to create a lattice support that is denser over the break area and lighter for the rest of the cast. The rigidity of the polyamide means less material is required to achieve the same level of support, thus making the cast thinner, lighter and less cumbersome to endure for 6 – 8 weeks. As the material is waterproof, the cast is less likely to become a health hazard after a while or dissolve in the shower or swimming pool. And last, but not least, the material is recyclable, which in this day and age, is of great relevance.
For this project Jake used Rhinoceros and Autodesk 3ds Max and to tidy up the scanner data he used the program ZBrush..
For the cast Jake required a scanner to supplement the x-ray data, which he created by hacking a Xbox Kinect remote.
The digital 3D printing file was sent to a professional 3D printing service provider, Shapeways and printed in their nylon plastic, a strong and flexible material.
Once the finished project was released into the wild world of the web, it became clear that Jake had not only researched a touchy – or rather itchy – topic, but managed to create a desirable solution to a worldwide problem. While the cast was discussed in a wide range of media, Jake also had submitted it to the James Dyson Awards and came 2nd equal (out of 650 entries) in the International competition in 2013. Meanwhile media attention across a diverse range of genres kept gaining momentum. It had started with dezeen and while other traditional design and 3D printing blogs discussed its merits, Forbes (international finance), WIRED (future ideas), core77 (industrial design) and iflscience (medical, science) brought it to the attention of specialists in other fields of interests.
This response highlights the potential and need for industrial and product designers to expand their field of expertise beyond the standardized mass production of consumer products.
Jake Evill studied at Victoria University in Wellington (New Zealand) with Industrial Design as his Minor topic. During one of the semesters he had broken his wrist and was painfully aware of the archaic way of supporting a broken bone during its long healing process. Under the supervision of Ross Stevens he created the Cortex cast as a more comfortable, hygienic and environmentally friendly alternative.