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Robert Downey Jr. Presents 3D Printed Bionic Arm to Mini Iron Man
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By Michael Molitch-Hou | 3D Printing Industry

At the end of last year, we reported on a unique spin-off of E-nable’s 3D printed prosthetics project called Limbitless Solutions. Headed up by E-nable volunteer and University of Central Florida PhD candidate Albert Manero, the non-profit expands upon the 3D printed prosthetic model with bionic components, allowing individuals without limbs to move 3D printed hands and fingers through myoelectric muscle sensors.

The very first person to be helped by Limbitless was a seven-year-old boy named Alex Pring, born with a partially developed right arm. Without the funds to purchase the industry-standard $40k bionic limb, the non-profit stepped in to design one themselves using 3D printing, resulting in a custom, muscle-controlled arm for just about $350.

When we last left Alex, the Limbitless team was working on an upgrade to his arm that would make it lighter, stronger, easier to bend, and water-tight. Today, Alex was presented with the upgrade of his dreams and the presentation was nothing short of a cinematic. Through the work of Limbitless Solutions and with support from Microsoft’s The Collective Project, Alex’s new Iron Man-themed bionic limb was gifted to him by none other than Iron Man himself.

As you can tell from the video above, Alex’s 3D printed upgrade is functional and, as Robert Downey Jr. puts it, even more functional than RDJ’s own costume counterpart. Even as Alex continues to grow, Manero’s Limbitless Solutions will be able to provide a new arm to fit him, thanks to the design flexibility and low-cost offered by 3D printing. With the in-pouring of donations likely to result from this video, Limbitless will probably have a limitless stream of funding to help even more kids like Alex around the world.

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