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Photo courtesy of ActivArmor

This Innovative Cast Could Save Your Winter

A Pueblo company is 3D-printing a waterproof cast out of the same material as Lego bricks.

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Vail’s 2018-’19 ski season will only be 156 days long—perhaps shorter, if the warming climate gives us another year of bad snowpack and early resort closures. No powderhound wants to miss out on any of those days because of a broken arm and itchy cast, and now they don’t have to. Pueblo’s ActivArmor makes waterproof casts that just might salvage your winter. Founder Diana Hall conceived of the revolutionary design in 2014 while mentoring disadvantaged kids, who often wore damp and dirty casts to the program she ran. So the former software developer 3D-printed a version made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene—the material Lego bricks are made out of—which allows patients to play in the snow without getting their casts soggy. ActivArmor’s designers use scans of breaks and strains to shape casts so they immobilize only the joints that need to be arrested (final printing occurs in Cañon City). The specificity allows non-injured fingers a wider range of motion and doesn’t trap harmful bacteria against the skin in a dank jail for months. Plus, the low-profile invention fits under winter coats and gloves—ensuring the $900-plus you dropped on your Epic Pass isn’t wasted.

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