Meet the engineer 3D-printing bionic prosthetic limbs for kids in need


Albert Manero founded nonprofit Limbitless Solutions to give kids functional, custom-designed arms they’re proud to wear – at no cost

Up until a few years ago, Albert Manero dreamed of building rockets and airplanes. He’d grown up in Tampa, and on clear days, he could see the shuttle launches as they blasted off from Cape Canaveral. The experience put him on a path toward the Space Coast, and he pursued undergraduate and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering as well as a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Central Florida. But then, as a grad student, he heard a radio interview that altered that course – and changed his life forever. This mom was just at her wit’s end because no one seemed to be able to help her son.Albert Manero

That interview featured the co-creator of the first 3D-printed hand. It inspired Manero. “I really wanted to be a part of that,” he says. So, he emailed the project team and got his name added to a global list of people who wanted to assist families in need with 3D-printed prostheses. In 2014, a local Florida family asked for help. Their child, Alex, was born with congenital limb difference; his arm was missing from above the elbow. “None of the traditional 3D-printed hand prosthetics were viable,” Manero explains. “This mom was just at her wit’s end because no one seemed to be able to help her son.”

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