All some kids may want for Christmas is their two front teeth, but thanks to Limbitless Solutions, 12 children from 11 states around the country will be receiving new arms for the holidays.
Limbitless, a nonprofit organization that creates prosthetic arms using 3-D printers, was developed by UCF doctoral student and founder Albert Manero. Manero announced the organization’s new “12 Arms for Christmas” initiative Thursday at a Florida Board of Governors summit at Florida International University, according to a press release.
“This initiative provides an opportunity for us to give arms to more children while at the same time training dozens more engineers to use this technology,” said Manero, who is earning a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, in the release. “It puts us one step closer to ensuring that families do not have to pay for their child to receive an arm.”
Previously, Manero and his team gained national attention after building a bionic arm for 6-year-old Alex Pring, whose Iron Man-inspired arm was presented to him by Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr.
The arms run with off-the-shelf servos and batteries and are being created by Manero and his team at UCF. Additionally, a Limbitless branch has been created at the University of Florida, and those students are currently helping out with creating one of the 12 arms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 1,500 children who are born with hand or arm deformities each year.
Prosthetic limbs are easily outgrown and, along with insurance for them, can be very pricey, but Manero and his team have been able to use 3-D printing to bring the cost of materials down to $500. The team donates the arms to families in need.
Limbitless was able to raise all funds necessary to buy materials for the 12 arms and will donate them to the children for free. The children, three girls and nine boys, range in age from 5 to 11 years old and many don’t know they will be receiving the arms by Christmas, the release states.
“Albert exemplifies the innovation, entrepreneurship and compassion made possible with the training and knowledge that is available in our State University System,” said Board of Governors chair Mori Hosseini in the release. “We thank Albert for the work he is doing for children and for his efforts to make this important new technology available around the world.”
Danielle Hendrix is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByDaniHendrix or email her at DanielleH@centralfloridafuture.com.