Boy receives robotic arm from UCF student, engineers

UCF aerospace engineering student creates prosthetic with 3D printer

By Loren Korn - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Daily tasks that we take for granted were a struggle for a young boy who only has one arm, but thanks to a University of Central Florida student and a group of his friends, that boy doesn't have to struggle anymore.

"I can go fishing with my mom and dad," said 6-year-old Alex Pring.

And that's only one of the many activities Alex can now do after receiving his new robotic arm and hand Friday morning at the Fairwinds Alumni Center.

"Words can't explain how grateful and excited and happy we are. I mean look at his face, look how happy he is," said Alex's mother.

Alex was born with only one arm, and his mother wanted to see if she could make a hand for him using a 3D printer. But when it got too complicated, she turned to UCF aerospace engineering student Albert Manero for help.

"I figured I'd ask him for help and he would give me some kind of pointers," she said. "I didn't think he was going to say, 'I can do way better. Just give me a couple of weeks.'"

Six weeks later, Manero and his group of engineering friends developed a robotic arm for Alex using the 3D printer.

"Alex flexes his muscle. It reads a little voltage inside the arm and actuates the motor that closes the hand."

The family said the prosthetic would have cost thousands of dollars and it wasn't covered by insurance. However, it only cost Manero and his group $350 to make but they gave it to Alex for free. The family said it's forever grateful.

"They'll always have a place in our hearts and a place in our home. They are going to do great things like they are now."

The only thing Alex can't do is get his arm wet, but Manero said his group is now looking at a new 3D printer that'll hopefully make a waterproof model in the future.

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