UCF students to give free bionic arms to children with missing limbs


A non-profit started by UCF students is helping children across the U.S. with missing limbs.

The central Florida-based group known as Limbitless will help launch the first U.S. clinical trial of bionic arms for children made on 3D printers. The group, which is based the University of Central Florida, is partnering with Oregon Health & Science University.

“We are so excited to feature some of the new work and talk about how it's going to have a huge effect on families all around the country,” Limbitless president Albert Manero told WFTV’s Ty Russell.

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The clinical trial will recruit 20 children, primarily from the southeastern U.S. and Pacific Northwest, to be fitted with Limbitless' custom-designed bionic arms. Over the course of a year, the children will learn how to use the arms through occupational therapy.

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The results of the clinical trial will help the Food & Drug Administration decide whether to approve the arm to be covered by insurance.

Watch: Affordable 3-D-printed prosthetic arms go to kids across the country

The announcement puts Limbitless closer to its goal of creating 5,000 bionic arms by 2020 for free, which could save each family as much as $100,000.

“We are watching this new version of the arm and the different progress it has made, and ultimately reflecting how kids use it in their daily lives,” Manero said.

In March, UCF students in the program unveiled a video game in which children use a special controller on their limb to build up their muscle to help control the bionic arms. 

Watch: UCF students design video game for children without limbs

“For us, it's phenomenal to see kids using the arms outside the laboratory and being able to see that tangible impact on your community,” Manero said.


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