Alex Pring was born with a partially developed right arm. Albert Manero is a college student who builds and donates low-cost 3D-printed bionic arms to kids around the world through the volunteer group he founded, Limbitless Solutions. Not only does Manero build the arms, he makes the designs available to others for free.
“My parents always encouraged me to use my education to help others and to dream big dreams,” says Manero, a Fulbright scholar and doctoral student in mechanical engineering at the University of Central Florida. “Now I want to inspire others to help engineer hope for the world.”
Alex has a love of superheroes (what kid doesn’t), and was surprised by Manero and none other than Iron Man/Tony Stark himself (Robert Downey Jr.) with a bionic Iron Man arm through Microsoft’s Collective Project.
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) March 12, 2015
The first arm built by Limbitless cost less than $350 in materials, and was built using donations from the team who pooled together their “coffee money.” Manero decided to focus the organization towards children as their prosthetics are not only harder to build, but quickly outgrown. Using electrical muscular signals to control movement of the limb, Limbitless Solutions is expanding to development of bionic legs and elbow joints as well.
“We were all bound to the belief that no one should profit from a child in need of an arm,” says Manero.
It’s wonderful to see actors like Robert Downey Jr. get involved with groups like Limbitless Solutions for projects like these and improve the quality of life for with disabilities.