Tony Stark Gives 3-D Printed Bionic Arm to 7-Year-Old Boy

By Carl Engelking | March 13, 2015 2:40 pm
Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., fist bumps Alex Pring, 6, who was fitted with an Iron Man-themed bionic limb. (Credit: Screengrab from YouTube)

Robert Downey Jr. fist bumps Alex Pring, who was fitted with an Iron Man-themed bionic limb. Credit: Screengrab from YouTube

Tony Stark is the reckless playboy at the head of Stark Industries, and he’s also, of course, Iron Man. And in between saving the world from his archenemy Mandarin and running a multibillion-dollar conglomerate, he somehow found the time to warm our hearts.

Robert Downey Jr., in character as Stark, recently paid a visit to a 7-year-old named Alex to give him an Iron Man-themed prosthetic arm. Alex was born with an underdeveloped right arm.

Because it was 3-D printed, the bionic arm cost just $350 in materials to create – a fraction of the cost of similar bionic limbs. After the gifting, the team watched Alex give his mother a two-armed bear hug for the very first time.

Albert Manero, a Fulbright scholar and mechanical engineer at University of Central Florida, designed the arm. Manero founded the volunteer group Limbitless Solutions, which works to design inexpensive 3-D-printed prosthetics. Limbitless primarily serves children, whose small prosthetics are harder to build and are quickly outgrown.

Alex’s limb uses electrical muscle signals to control its movement, and the Limbitless team hopes to expand into developing bionic legs and elbow joints. Limbs like Alex’s can cost up to $40,000. Even with the small price tag, the Limbitless team pooled their money together to pay for Alex’s limb.

“We were all bound to the belief that no one should profit from a child in need of an arm,” Manero said in a news release.

Now that’s some superhero stuff.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: biotechnology
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  • CelticLion

    Valiantly courageous charitable spirits of Mareno & the Collective Project teams to donating their time & efforts to help needy children. May their valiance spur a tremendous outpouring of support and spawn other such projects.

  • http://andro-ids.blogspot.com Mpoendi Sukek

    Great, nice job Iron Man 😀

  • Anthony White

    That’s Awesome

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    The FDA must protuberate its hirsute proboscis, ending the street hawking of experimental medical devices with unknown hazards, to children! Diagnosis, prognosis, prescription, and treatment are by law limited to licensed practitioners. Felonious juvenile prostheticism! Let’s say $50,000 fine, 20 years imprisonment, confiscation and destruction of the device – merciful for a first offense for the child. Tony Stark gets six months probation. The easily touched must be enforced lest the professionally criminal be discommoded.

    Does it come in green? Does it have a camera?

  • Müge Akdoğan

    Is it as simple to use as putting it on and be able to instantly work it?

  • Captain Slog

    This is Marvellous!! There’s still room for improvement to make their movement and handling more Natural, but, they’re far better than those hideous claws and hooks of years past.
    Another thing that could do with some very serious attention are Artificial Legs. They spend THOUSANDS of Dollars on things that are nothing more than Hi-Tech Steel Pipes with a Shoe on them. How awful and disturbing!!. Its bad enough they’ve lost a leg or two, but to be replaced with Hi-Tech Peg Legs?
    What’s wrong with designing something more dignified and a bit of Imagination like, say, C3-PO Legs? Or some other Droid’s Legs? They may not be REAL Droid’s Legs, but at least you can have a bit of Fun, and Dignity by having something looking more REAL and less disturbing.
    With Legs like a Protocol Droid’s, there will be room inside for Technology to make it move and work like the real thing, and contain a Power Pack. If no Power Pack is required, the Mechanism inside will allow real movement and shock absorbance.
    Naturally, George Lucas would have to approve the use of his character’s designs to brighten accident victims lives, not only by watching his Movies and TV Series, but by Adopting STAR WARS Technology as well.
    STAR TREK did it with PADDs, Mobile Phones, Tri-Corders, Blue Tooth Ear Pieces, and other emerging technologies. NOW its STAR WARS to turn to really Shine, too. What we really need from STAR WARS, though, is Repulsorlift Technology for Speeders Speeder Bikes, Transports of all sizes, Shuttles, etc.
    Live Long and Prosper, and,
    May The Force Be With You, Always!!

  • Lee Dwyer

    What an awesome story ! A truly great effort by all. Great bio tech and of course a great job by Robert Downey Jr . Thanks for the great entertainment and continued efforts to pass on the efforts to someone in need!

  • Dan O’Donnell

    Respect

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