Students Create $350 3-D Printed Prosthetic Arm

The future will be full of 3-D printed materials, and as this progresses we will recognize more and more that these creations will not just be helpful in daily life, but may also save astounding amount of money and effort for specialized fields and devices. Such was the case this week when Albert Manero, a Ph.d student in engineering at the University of Central Florida, helped outfit Alex, a 6-year-old boy, with a 3-D printed arm that cost only $350. Alex had been born missing part of his right arm, and that's where science stepped in.

Manero had teamed up with Alex's mom via the e-NABLE project, which seeks to create 3-D printed hands via online efforts, and after seven weeks of tests with an engineering team, finally created a working prototype. As reported by, Alex quickly learned how to use the technology in conjunction with his upper arm strength. Manero noted, "The first thing he did when he could actually control it a little bit was hug his mother."

Since Alex is young and will require upgrades as he grows, additional parts for the arm mechanism can be printed out, at a cost of $20-$50. A conventional prosthetic arm could run up to $40,000.

High five for 3-D printed arms!

Alex Pring and his innovative, inexpensive new arm.

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