Face of the day

Albert Manero

Albert Manero

Today’s face of the day is Albert Manero. He is a Fulbright Scholar and the inventor of a bionic arm prototype. He is leaving his mark on the world by changing children’s lives for the better. What makes him so special to me is that he is using a 3D Printer to make a bionic arm affordable to those who so desperately need one.

Albert Manero has dreamed about making amazing things since he was six years old, so he dedicated his academic career to pursuing a career in engineering. His calling proved to be worthy almost two decades later when he crossed paths with another six-year-old named Alex Pring.

Pring also had a big dream: to be an ordinary kid. He was born with only half a right arm, and, although he hadn?t let that prevent him from doing most of the things other kids his age typically do, he just wanted to feel normal and for him, that meant having a new arm.

When Pring?s parents were denied insurance coverage for a costly prosthetic, they took matters into their own hands. They tried everything including making their own prosthetic from a design they found on the internet. When that failed, Pring?s mother, Alyson, searched for a ?brilliant mind? who could help her son. She found Manero through the volunteer online network e-NABLE, an international group of volunteer engineers, 3-D enthusiasts, therapists and inventors.

Albert Manero, right, looks on as Alex Pring displays his bionic arm that Manero and Limbitless Solutions built.

Albert Manero, right, looks on as Alex Pring displays his bionic arm that Manero and Limbitless Solutions built.

It took Manero and his team of fellow graduate students at the University of Central Florida just seven weeks to design and produce a bionic arm using a 3-D printer and off-the-shelf gears and batteries that work with electrodes attached to Pring?s bicep. Typically, a commercially produced prosthetic arm costs up to tens of thousands of dollars. The price tag for this 3-D arm: less than $350.

Manero and his team stood to make millions by selling their prototype, but instead, they have uploaded the building instructions as open source content online so that anyone can download the blueprints for free. They are already at work on a new arm for another family.
In his own words

?We have a responsibility to do this. With these degrees in engineering?if we can?t be helping others with them?then what are they worth??