BOOMcast, created by FATHOM for Mike North of Prototype This! And Outrageous Acts of Science on television, is a 3D printed cast with embedded electronics that enable a doctor to monitor the leg’s physical state from anywhere in the world. The cast allows North to maintain an active, enjoyable lifestyle that doesn’t compromise the healing process. Outfitted with pressure sensors, bluetooth speakers, LED lights, gyroscope, accelerometer, and WiFi enabled Intel Edison, the BOOMcast is a true demonstration of how wearable technologies can be used for innovative medical purposes. To sum it up as Mike North puts it, “We call it the BOOMcast and this thing is badass.”
When North broke his fibula, he immediately understood that none of the traditional cast options would be conducive to his personal and professional needs. As a TV host who travels frequently and an overall active human being, North needed a durable and easily removable cast. North enlisted help from FATHOM to create a 3D printed the cast that integrates technology from industry-leading companies like Intel and Google. The BOOMcast is programmed to deliver medical information to North’s doctor, play music from his phone, map pressure and audio data into LED lights that convey information for North’s edification, and other extensive auxiliary features:
- 3D-printed body and functional ratcheting straps (FDM Nylon 12 for impact strength and durability)
- Sole of cast built in PolyJet multi-materials (rigid substructure with rubber-like cushioning)
- Custom fit from digital body scan (FARO ScanArm)
- Bluetooth-enabled speakers by Boombotix
- Intel Edison (WiFi-enabled) powered by SparkFun, Adafruit, and Arduino
- Gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer
- Force sensitive resistors
- Real-time data transfer to the cloud
- Multi-color LED feedback
- Hardware inserts
- Additive manufacturing equipment used include Fortus 900mc and Objet500 Connex3
The BOOMcast was 3D printed in Nylon 12, a performance thermoplastic with excellent impact strength and durability. The BOOMcast includes four force-sensitive resistors (FSRs) that record the contact pressure along the leg to indicate whether the healing bone has exceeded the doctor’s recommended load-bearing conditions.
Externally, the most immediately noticeable feature is the speaker system. Broken legs often leave patients on the sideline of the party, but with the BOOMcast, the party goes to them. The cast’s fully functional speaker projects any music North desires and has a double-stomp function that provides a hands-free way to change tracks. The speakers are also programmed to exude inaudible low-frequency tones that research has indicated will facilitate the healing of the fractured bone.
Beyond the electronic components, the BOOMcast utilizes additive manufacturing technologies to result in an overall superior cast than standard offerings. This one-of-a-kind leg cast is removable, lightweight, comfortable, and durable while also being travel-friendly as it expands to account for swelling that occurs with pressure changes during commercial flights.
The BOOMcast is just one of many exciting projects developed at FATHOM. Be sure to follow our blog and the original web series What Can You FATHOM? for the latest on additive manufacturing technologies and applications!