Group of UCF Students 3D Prints Bionic Arm for 6-Year-Old Boy

A group of students from the University of Central Florida craft a “bionic” arm for six-year-old Alex Pring using only a 3D printer and $350 in materials.

The group of students, led by Albert Manero, a Ph.D. candidate and Fulbright Scholar, met Pring through a Web-based volunteer organization. The volunteer organization is called e-NABLE, a group of engineers and 3D printing enthusiasts who get their kicks from using their skills to do nice things for people who need them. Mostly, though, they design prosthetic limbs for children.

In the spirit of growing open-source communities, e-NABLE makes their 3D blueprints publically available at no cost.

In total, one of these prosthetic limbs costs about $350, which is pretty remarkable considering that prosthetic limbs traditionally cost upwards of $40,000.

Pring, however, was a particularly tough case. He needed an arm that extended above the elbow, and e-NABLE didn’t have any plans for that particular kind of prosthetic. So Manero and his team got to work, developing a lightweight prototype that Pring could operate using his upper-arm muscles. It was done in a few weeks.

“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,” Manero told UFC Today. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”

The major benefit to 3D arms like this one is that they are inexpensive. As Alex grows, he can simply print a new arm.

“Fulfilling a 6-Year-Old’s Dream: UCF Students Design and Build Him an Arm,”, July 25, 2014, Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala,
“UCF students make prosthetic arm for 6-year-old boy,”, July 28, 2014, Marni Jameson,

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