Engineering Students Create a Lightweight, Waterproof Cast to Replace Chunky, Itchy Plaster Casts


If you’ve ever broken a bone and had to wear a plaster cast, you know how frustrating, annoying, and uncomfortable they are. I broke my hand when I was 12, and those six weeks were pretty shitty. My arm felt like it weighed a thousand pounds, and I had to tape a trash bag around the cast every time I wanted to take a shower.

It was NO FUN!

Well, there’s excellent news on the cast front, courtesy of a company called Cast21. The Chicago-based startup is looking to change the way we have to deal with broken bones, and their tech looks very promising.


The process Cast21 uses is pretty unique: a mesh sleeve is put onto a person’s wrist and filled with liquid resin that hardens and sets the broken bone in place.

The idea came about in an engineering design class at the University of Illinois. Jason Troutner, Ashley Moy, and Justin Brooks partnered up for a class at the university and came up with the idea that eventually led to Cast21.

The product is much more comfortable than traditional plaster casts and also more hygienic. Just ask anyone who has worn a cast for six weeks or more how disgusting and smelly their arm or leg is after they get one of those old-school bad boys taken off. No thanks!

Plus, fitting a Cast21 cast can take as little as 10 minutes.


Veronica Hogg, Cast21’s vice president of engineering, said, “We have this radical notion that you can enjoy your healing experience. You don’t need to be restrained from daily activities.”


What a great idea. Hopefully it takes off and we can say goodbye to plaster casts for good!