The worst part about breaking a bone is the pain and bodily damage. The second worst part is the inconvenience of having to wear a cast, and one of the problems with a traditional plaster cast is that it can’t get wet, which means no swimming and awkwardly wrapping a plastic bag around it in order to take a shower. Recently, a company called ActivArmor came up with a solution to that problem with its 3D printed, waterproof casts. The Colorado-based company has had its casts available in clinics in its home state for a while, but a new grant will allow it to bring them to a dozen clinics across the country.
ActivArmor is the recipient of the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant, a Colorado initiative designed to promote growth in the fields of advanced manufacturing, bioscience, aerospace, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, and technology and information. The grant gives ActivArmor $750,000, which, according to founder and owner Diana Hall, will not only allow the company to expand across the country but will create more than 20 jobs over the next couple of years.
ActivArmor casts are 3D printed in a voronoi pattern, allowing air to circulate and keeping sweat and bacteria from getting trapped. They’re designed so that the wearer can still be active, doing all the things he or she normally would while still healing properly.
“These ones allow you to get back to your normal lifestyle activities so patients can swim, bathe, sweat, shower in them,” said Hall. “Athletes can continue to train in them and so they just give you a lot more freedom…there are over 500 patients all across the country wearing these right now.”
Clinicians who want to fit their patients with ActivArmor casts simply take a scan of the patient’s injured body part, then send the scan to ActivArmor, which 3D prints a custom-fit cast. The company is currently looking for partnering clinics; the first two opened recently in Los Angeles and Illinois.
In other funding news, 3D printer comparison website Aniwaa was selected as one of three startups to receive investment funding under the $5 million Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (SADIF). Aniwaa was started in 2013 and has quickly become known as a top authority in 3D printers.
“We explain what exactly 3D printing is, what can be done with this technology and what are the business applications that become possible through it,” said Co-Founder and CEO Martin Lansard. “We are very proud of our comparison database of hundreds of machines – we are the leading authority and the largest 3D printing hardware comparison engine in the world. It’s the most comprehensive of its type currently in existence. Thousands of people flock to our site to search and compare.”
SADIF was launched in March to boost funding for Cambodia-based digital companies over the next five years. It was created by Smart Axiata in partnership with investment and advisory firm Mekong Strategic Partners. The fund will also be joined by Forte Insurance as a co-investor.
“Smart is keen to support all aspects of Cambodia’s tech ecosystem,” said Smart Axiata CEO Thomas Hundt. “Aniwaa is a great example of this: 3D printing technology is new for most people, but its possibilities in shaping how products will be designed, manufactured and sold in the next few years are huge. We are proud to offer them support to strengthen its rich database capabilities and build a world-class content platform. SADIF’s support will allow Aniwaa to take their industry-leading reviewing practices and apply it to other technologies. I look forward to see what they choose to start reviewing next and bring cutting edge tech hardware information to more technophiles.”
“Right now we are just a team of four. But the partnership with SADIF is amazing for us because we have reached a point where we really want to expand and grow as a company,” he said. “As leaders in 3D printing comparison, we feel ready to take on more challenges in our business. This means applying what we have learnt through our 3D printing comparison methodologies and adapting it to explore new product categories; things like drones, Virtual Reality and other emerging technologies which are becoming so popular nowadays. For us it’s a big step but with the help from SADIF, its partners as well as Smart’s expertise and resources, we can build on our world-class technology media here in Cambodia. We’ve established ourselves in this country and thankfully it is relatively easy for a company to operate here. Cambodia has a very fast-growing start-up ecosystem.”
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Sources: KOAA / Khmer Times]