Here’s an interesting concept: Imagine an orthopedic cast with sensors that capture muscle activity, wirelessly broadcasting the information to social networks, including your physician and physical therapist — enabling them to see what type of mobility and therapy you are doing.

The dynamic cast, called “Bones”, and designed by Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design graduate Pedro Nakazato Andrade, could collect muscle activity data around the fracture area by using electromyographic (EMG) sensors.

Per his website:

This information can be synced via wireless to the user’s online profile where they have a history of their activities as a simulation of their full mobility recovery time according to their progression and exercising routine. On the website, Bones analyses the user’s achievements and suggests specific exercises in order to keep the muscles active around the fracture area. Ultimately, using the Bones cast will reduce the overall period of recovery time.

This idea is definitely a great proof of concept.  Those familiar with orthopedic fractures, especially post surgery, understand that physical therapy is a huge component of healing.  Being able to study and tailor physical therapy for patients using this dynamic cast could be huge.  Even more, being able to potentially crowd source this information to study the best physical therapy techniques that enable faster healing would yield great research data.

There are definitely some obvious issues though — such as the expense of these casts.  A traditional cast we place on patients in the ER or clinic setting is relatively cheap, made up of mostly plaster.  There is no way one size fits all the “Bones” scenario, and to make custom casts for every arm, or having an array of them, would surly be costly.

And it’s not just the size of the cast.  In orthopedics it’s often important for the cast to be shaped in a particular way so the hands are either flexed or extended — this type of cast wouldn’t necessarily provide that type of functionality — whereas plaster casts can be manipulated to do so.

Needless to say, an interesting concept with great potential.

Source: Bones Orthopedic Cast

Bones from Pedro Andrade on Vimeo.