One little boy, born missing the lower portion of his right arm, encountered a stroke of luck any comic book fan would envy. He received a brand-new 3D-printed bionic arm from Tony Stark himself. Robert Downey Jr met with seven-year-old Alex Pring to present him with an upgraded artificial limb. Downey also brought along one of the arms he wore in the Iron Man films, and he and Alex geeked out together, comparing the abilities of their man-made arms.
The arm was made by Limbitless Solutions, a volunteer group started by Albert Manero, a University of Central Florida engineering PhD student, to make bionic 3D-printed arms for kids at little or no cost to their families.
Alex’s new arm is the first of its kind Limbitless has made–and gifted–to a child in need. The arm cost less than $350 in materials, a stark difference from the $40,000 price tag of some prosthetics. The team’s volunteers donated the arm for free, after pooling together their “coffee money.” In addition to having moveable joints at the wrist and fingers, Alex’s arm also has a repulsor laser built right into the palm, just like Iron Man. (Okay, so it’s just an LED, but it’s still really cool.)
Gifting the arm to Alex was a combined effort between between Downey and Microsoft, which arranged the meeting as part of its social media campaign, The Collective Project. When he posted the video to his Facebook page, Downey thanked Manero and other partners in the project for helping “kids who want to show the playground how badass they are.” That pretty much says it all.
Images via officevideos via YouTube screengrab