As readers of Vibrations: Harmonic Magic Book 1 are aware, vibratory energy plays a major part in the story. It might interest some to know, however, that such things do not exist exclusively in fiction. Vibration has been used for healing for thousands of years, mainly in the far East. Now, there is a new tool in this type of care: a 3D-printed cast custom-made to deliver vibratory healing energy to a bone fracture.
There have been indications for at least a decade that low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) improves the healing in bone fractures, but the equipment used for treatment was inhibited by bulky plaster casts. Industrial Design student Deniz Karasahin has created a way to use LIPUS more efficiently to promote faster healing of broken bones: the Osteoid Medical Cast, a honey-comb structure cast printed on a 3D printer that works with a bone stimulator to deliver the appropriate vibratory energy to the injury.
Images courtesy of A’Design Award & Competition
The designer claims that fractures heal 38-80% more rapidly than without the vibratory treatment, depending upon the type of fracture. Though there are not a great number of studies on this method of treatment, those that exist seem to indicate that healing is, in fact, improved with LIPUS (see this study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Another thing recommending the cast over traditional plaster casts is that the open design allows air to flow on and around the skin. Maybe more importantly to the injured person’s close friends and family, the cast itself can get wet. No more putting plastic bags over a cast to take a shower, and no more “cast stench” (my term) from the unwashed skin underneath. By all accounts, this device is a good example of the beneficial use of technology in general and the adaptability of 3D printing specifically.
Now if technology could only keep us from breaking bones in the first place.