“When he hugged me with two hands, he just didn’t let go!”
Six year-old Alex became the recipient of the world’s first ever 3-D printed arm. The myoelectric arm allowed him to achieve one of his dreams: to hug his mother with two arms. According to him, his first “real hug.”
The man who allowed Alex to finally experience this hug was Albert Manero, an Aerospace Engineer Doctoral student at the University of Central Florida. Manero got in contact with young Alex via a site called e-NABLE, a community of volunteers sharing ideas and blueprints for 3D printing projects.
The site’s overall aim is to provide as many cheap and effective prosthetic arms and hands to those in need as possible, and has provided many children with new hands in the past, enabling them to use two hands for the first time ever. Now, thanks to Manero, the site has achieved its greatest feat yet.
Alex was born missing his whole right arm from just above the elbow. To provide Alex with a proper replacement, Manero created the myoelectric arm that responds to the muscle energy in Alex’s bicep.
An average prosthetic arm wasn’t yet an option for Alex, due to the complicated process of making a smaller arm for a child who will quickly outgrow it anyway. Alex had grown up doing his best to keep up with his two-armed friends, but as he aged, things were only becoming more difficult. While an average prosthetic arm would cost up to $40,000, Manero managed to assemble one for only $350.
For more details on Alex or Manero, read this.More Like This: Children, Health