This is a story that just makes you be thankful for the technologies we can take advantage of today. Alex Pring, a six-year old boy from Groveland, Florida, who was born without a right arm, was given a new prosthetic arm on Friday. The amazing thing about it was that the arm was built by a team headed by University of Central Florida student Albert Manero who used a 3D printer. Alex tested the arm and told reporters:
I feel good. I feel everything good, even my robot arm. It’s not even heavy.
Mr. Manero got the idea about using the technology when he heard a story on the radio about a man in South Africa who used a 3D printer to make a new hand. He said:
I was really inspired. When I got back, I talked to my colleagues and friends and said, “We can do this”.
His team, which included friends who study electrical, mechanical and civil engineering, quickly got to work. The arm is activated by the electromyography muscle energy on Alex’s bicep, according to UCFToday. Critically, Stratasys, one of the nation’s largest commercial 3D printer makers, donated some of the supplies. Mr. Manero said:
My mother taught us that we’re supposed to help change the world. We’re supposed to help make it better. That’s why we did it. The look on Alex’s face when he used it for the first time was priceless.
Alex got used to the arm pretty quickly. Mr. Manero added:
The first thing he did when he could actually control it a little bit was hug his mother. He said it was their first real hug. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Mr. Manero is a Fulbright Scholar who will be leaving for Germany in August to work for the German Aerospace Center. However, he has promised to help another family in need of a 3D arm, so he’ll remain committed to the project even when he’s abroad.
Such a story! (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Six-year-old Alex Pring, who was born without a right arm, speaks with Albert Manero, a University of Central Florida student who built Alex a prosthetic arm with a 3D printer.
2. The engineering students can be seen hooking up the boy’s new arm last week.
3. Afterwards, the first thing Alex did was run to his mother for his first ever hug with two arms.
4. Alex shakes hands with a reporter after receiving the new limb on Friday. His family had struggled to afford the $40,000 that doctors said it would cost to give the boy an arm.
5. Alex plays with a ball next to his grandfather after getting the arm, which reacts to muscles in his shoulder. He can open and close the hand and the battery lasts for a whole day.
6. Alex is pictured grinning with his new arm with Manero, who came up with the idea.
7. Moreno, pictured hugging Alex, is now developing another printed arm for a second family.
And here is the video:
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