A team of UCF engineering students, who made an inexpensive 3D arm for a 6-year-old boy this summer, were honored Wednesday at the STEAM Gala, according to a news release.
The black-tie event, sponsored by some of the biggest companies in the nation, was the kickoff of STEAM Week, a series of engaging activities that show the public the power of science, engineering, technology and the art to change the lives of everyday people.
The UCF students, who call themselves Limbitless, attracted nationwide attention in July when they presented Groveland first-grader Alex Pring with his arm. The engineers made the arm with a 3D printer and off-the-shelf servos and batteries that are activated by the electromyography muscle energy on Alex's bicep.
After eight weeks, the Knights were able to design and produce the arm, allowing Alex to give his mother a real hug with both arms — for the first time.
"We are recognizing Limbitless with the STEAM Innovation Award because we think their spirit of refusing to accept that artificial limbs have to be expensive or limited to those who can afford them is demonstrative of how we can, together, create a better world," Jennifer Jordan, a spokeswoman for the STEAM Carnival, said in a release.
The team's blueprints for their design are posted online so anyone can download them for free. Members are also working with the international group e-Nable, to pioneer new 3D-printed hands and arms in aim to help people around the world.
This month, some members met and began their next design process for their first international recipient, a 5-year-old from Brazil.