Chinese students create a revolutionary new way to heal bone fractures
Team behind versatile cast says their invention could be a big help to disaster-struck areas and poorer regions that lack medical resources
A group of design students from Tunghai University, in China, have come up with a clever new way to heal bone fractures.
Known as BoneAid, the cast differs from traditional fixation casts in that one versatile cast can heal breaks in the leg, arm, or ankle — all with minor reassembly.
The design also packs flat in shipments so it takes up less space than casts designed for a specific body part when disaster relief needs as many casts as possible.
The designers behind BoneAid say its disaster-relief benefits may be its biggest sell.
Earthquakes rank among the most dangerous natural disasters because of their tendency to cause broken bones. The problem with traditional fixation devices is that they're bulky and fracture-specific. The same device that heals a broken arm can't fit a person's leg or ankle, and transporting each variety takes up valuable cargo space in trucks and planes.
The team at BoneAid estimates the average truck can fit 500 single-use casts. But because BoneAid lies flat, the team says trucks can fit 18,000 units.
BoneAid isn't for sale yet, as the team created the product for a university project. But it's already gaining widespread attention. The Industrial Designers Society of America recently selected BoneAid as one of its Gold winners in the 2016 IDSA Awards, in the category of Student Designs.
The team hopes to continue building out the design to serve disaster-struck areas and poorer regions that lack adequate access to medical resources.