These gel-filled casts are breathable, waterproof, and look incredibly cool!

Shattering the archaic approach to plaster/fiberglass cast-building for fractures, Cast21 believes it has a much better alternative to traditional casts. Practically a standard for decades now, plaster-casts are required to sit on your body for months at an end, and considering they aren’t really water-resistant (and your limbs remain 100% enclosed), they begin working up a stench over the months of not being able to wash them. Given their impenetrable nature, casts cause great discomfort over the weeks and anyone who’s worn one will tell you what a pain it is when your skin begins itching and there’s no way to reach in there for a satisfying scratch.

Chicago-based startup Cast21, however, has a much more elegant solution. Designed as a sleeve that fits over any hand, Cast21’s cast takes shape around your hand once it’s filled with a patented gel that hardens over time. Doctors select a sleeve-size based on whether the patient is a child or a fully-grown adult. The sleeve is slipped on, and filled with a patented mixture of resins that become a malleable gel after a while. The doctor can then adjust the gel to perfectly hug the limb, giving it the support it needs. Patients can even choose between gel-colors, opting for combinations and gradients, breaking the stigma that casts need to look horribly clinical. The resins harden through an exothermic reaction, providing soothing heat to the limb as the cast begins to take shape. The outer sleeve itself has a crisscrossed design (almost resembling a pear protector) that allows it to remain breathable while still providing a robust structure around the broken limb. Cast21’s casts are completely waterproof, which means you can shower or even swim in them and their partially-open design even allows you to satisfy an itch, were you to have one! Plus, it provides a decent canvas for scrawling messages on too!

Cast21’s gel-casts are currently limited only to ‘distal radial fractures’ or DR fractures that occur around the wrist. They’re working to develop different sleeves for other parts of the body, while they hope that the technology replaces traditional casts that look, feel, and smell atrocious. The Cast21’s solution has widespread applications, especially for military, outdoor, and first-aid use, since the resin and sleeve are relatively easy to carry around and administer on-site, rather than having to travel to a nearby hospital.

Designer: Cast21