Dubai – MENA Herald: Alex Pring, now a seven-year old from Florida, was presented in 2014 with a cool and updated Iron-man styled bionic arm by Robert Downey Jr., who played the role of the super-hero in the film. The technology behind Alex’s 3-D printed bionic arm was developed by Limbitless Solutions, an independent, nonprofit organization established by engineering students and faculty of the University of Central Florida (UCF).
“Alex is now filled with confidence and wants to go to the university,” said Albert Manero, Executive Director at Limbitless Solutions, while narrating the child’s story during his presentation titled Bionics for Humanity: Disability Is Not an Option on the last day of the fourth World Government Summit 2016 in Dubai.
He said: “The best part of this technology is it brings hope. We need to engineer hope. Artificial Intelligence, 3-D printing will revolutionize the work and it’s up to us how we use it.”
Disability is a global issue and huge costs are associated with disability. The World Bank estimates that in the world today more than a billion people or one in seven experience some form of disability. In the United States itself, as Manero pointed out, there are two million people living with limb loss and 185,000 amputations occur every year and every year costs associated with such a loss are ‘enormous’. In Latin America, over 30 million require some form of prosthetics.
Manero hopes that governments will come forward and embrace such a project. Governments, and embassies can also help by providing a secure environment, especially in countries faced with conflict and some form of humanitarian crisis, to allow safe passage of people who suffer from the disability as well as those working and supplying such medical devices.
“Disability is a problem for every country and every government, and needs a big solution. People will not be defined by their missing part.”
He appealed to all concerned stakeholders, including governments, international partners, technologists, health officials to help “us get there,” providing low-cost solutions to missing arms and legs and various other forms of disability. The bionic arm was developed for US$350 with no cost to the family.
Manero said: “Technology is inevitable but its success will be defined by its compassion. Infusing technology with compassion, we at Limbitless have developed a new transformative 3-D printing device that aids in wheelchair mobility using facial movements, responding to another young person’s needs. Blending traditional bionics and 3-D printing with stem cells, we are working towards perfecting the solution, which we hope will restore a sense of touch for various forms of disability including those who are born with muscular dystrophy or who are quadriplegics, all at a very low cost.”
The World Government Summit has convened over 3,000 personalities from 125 countries. The summit concludes today (February 10) at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.