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SkinCast, a new kind of 3D cast

French start-up SkinCasts is offering a new generation of 3D-printed wrist, elbow and ankle casts. Called SkinCasts, they are made of PLA and are presented as an alternative to standard resin casts, which are heavy and restrictive.
SkinCast, a new kind of 3D cast
SkinCast, a new kind of 3D cast

Developed in collaboration with the Vr'tig.0 studio, which specialises in creating real-time 3D applications for the medical sector, the SkinCast cast was created after years of R&D research involving surgeons and engineers.

3D printing and PLA for customised and personalised casts

This new kind of cast is made of PLA, a recyclable and biodegradable polymer obtained from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots or sugar cane. And using 3D printing processes to manufacture them makes it possible to create tailor-made and personalised casts. They are designed by first scanning the part of the body that has suffered a trauma. The resulting computer file is then imported into a computer-aided design (CAD) program. The cast takes about four hours to print, although the printing time can vary depending on the size of the object.

Ultra-light and strong, comfortable and breathable casts

The final product is an unusual looking cast in the form of an adjustable honeycomb sleeve. The mesh allows the skin to breathe. This means no maceration of the immobilised parts and no itching. These so-called "radiolucent" orthoses allow X-rays to be taken to monitor the progress of the injury, which is impossible with traditional casts. Lightweight and not particularly invasive, they provide great freedom for adjacent joints and do not cause any friction on potential scars. A major advantage is that PLA is water resistant, so patients can wash their hands, take showers and even immerse themselves in water in the event of balneotherapy treatments. Ideal for a quick recovery! According to a SkinCast press release, "not only are these casts environmentally-friendly, they are above all durable". The polymer "offers a tensile strength of between 500 and 700 bars while remaining waterproof and providing adequate limb support at a very low weight".

In January, the recently-founded company went to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the most famous consumer show dedicated to high-tech products and digital innovation, in order to find technical, scientific and financial partnerships. Its objective now is to develop an international presence, in particular in North America.

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