Jan 16, 2016 | By Benedict

Nine-year-old Alvin Garcia Flores was given “a new hope” on Thursday, in the form of a 3D printed bionic arm made by Limbitless Solutions. Presenting the 3D printed prosthesis to the young Nebraska resident was none other than Darth Vader, iconic villain of the Star Wars franchise.

Born without a right arm, young Alvin had put a bionic arm on his Christmas list, in the hope that technology might provide him with a literal helping hand for 2016. Thanks to a coordinated team effort from Florida based Limbitless Solutions, members of the 501st Legion and Alvin’s school principal, the student was presented with his functional prosthesis during a school assembly on January 14.

Thanks to the creativity of the 501st legion, a national organization of Star Wars fans who regularly meet up to dress as antagonists from the mega-successful movie franchise, the presentation of the 3D printed arm was no ordinary event. A “shocked” Alvin was given his new 3D printed limb by Darth Vader himself—a character with a checkered past when it comes to missing arms. A pair of Stormtroopers and other recognizable characters were also present for the special occasion.

Terry Burton, principal of Alvin’s Gateway Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska, made the initial call to Limbitless, a Florida based nonprofit specializing in the provision of 3D printed bionic arms, to see if they could help Alvin with his special Christmas surprise. Limbitless responded affirmatively, and packaged up the 3D printed prosthesis for an early Christmas delivery. “I hope that the arm gives Alvin more self-confidence at school around his peers,” Burton said.

A team of UCF students constructed the bionic arm on behalf of Limbitless and shipped it to Omaha in December as part of its “12 Arms for Christmas” campaign, in which twelve lucky recipients received a 3D printed prosthesis. Unforeseen circumstances prevented Alvin from receiving the arm on Christmas Eve, but the postponement allowed Burton and co. to arrange a special school assembly, at which Alvin’s family and friends were present.

The arm, which will last around twelve months, uses electrical currents in the wearer’s muscles to control the bionic hand. When Alvin flexes his biceps, the hand of the arm will perform a gripping motion. “I’m so excited for him to join our Limbitless family,” said Albert Manero, founder of Limbitless Solutions.

Alvin says he was shocked to receive the arm and showed it off to his classmates.

“One of the biggest outlets we utilize is charity work and giving back to the community,” said John Jaeckel, a member of the 501st who helped to coordinate Alvin’s presentation. “When we were asked to help present this gift to Alvin there was no hesitation in accepting as it falls directly in line with one of the primary missions of our organization. One of the tag lines we use to promote our organization is ‘Bad Guys Doing Good’ and we are honored when organizations and groups contact us and ask us to be a part of something amazing.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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