“Do you know who that is?” Alex is asked.
“Iron Man!” he replied with a big smile.
It was a scene straight out of a comic book when billionaire tech inventor Tony Stark met Alex Pring, a 7-year-old boy who loves superheroes and riding his bike. Alex was born with a partially developed right arm.
Over the summer, Alex received a 3-D printed arm from Alberto Manero, a Fulbright scholar currently pursuing his doctorate in aerospace engineering at the University of Central Florida. Manero’s organization, Limbitless Solutions, helps provide 3D-printed prosthetics, like Alex’s, to people around the world. The process of 3-D printing has made prostheses much more affordable.
Alex’s prosthetic arm allowed him to pick up objects using a sensor that detected movements in his biceps. The arm cost Manero just $350 to print, a drastic difference from the $40 thousand that a similar traditional prosthetic would cost.
Now, Alex is getting a new and improved version, paired with an experience he will never forget.
Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. did not break character as he presented Alex with his very own Iron Man arm – identical to the superhero’s.
After some small talk, the two tried on their matching bionic arms together and while Alex’s worked perfectly, Downey’s blinked out of control. Downey joked that Alex’s must be the better version.
“Nice bow tie, by the way,” he told Alex.