College students build bionic arm for 6-year-old, free of charge

An engineering student at University of Central Florida is making a six-year-old's dream of being a normal kid, come true, by creating a new bionic arm.

The trick? All of the parts were made by a 3D printer.

UCF engineering student Albert Moreno has dreamed of making amazing things since he was 6-years old.

And he's seen some truly amazing things during his time in the university's engineering school.

"I've seen... the most incredible particle accelerators um... giant lasers... and incredible machines... ah... experiment halls," said Moreno.

6-year old Alex Pring, on the other hand, just dreams of being a normal kid.

He was born with only half a right arm.

"He was like 2 or 3 the first time he realized. He was in preschool and they were showing him sames and differents. And he was just sitting in the car and he looked down and goes, my arms are different. And I said 'What do you mean?' And he goes, 'I don't have a hand,'" said his Mother Alyson.

Alex has even had issues with kids in school making comments about his arm, saying things like he was bitten by a shark or an alligator, or hit by a car.

And that's where their two storylines come together. Alex's mom was looking for someone she could get help from for her son, and Albert was looking for someone he could give help to, with all the amazing things he's learned in school.

Albert Moreno created the team, at UCF, that created the arm.

It works with electrodes attached to his bicep.

When he flexes, his hand clinches.

Alex took to it quickly.

And after just a few fittings, he can throw a ball with the hand, and also write like any other kid.

"When he would hold the paper he'd have to turn his whole body to hold the paper. And they were worried that if he was taking a test for a long period of time he would hurt his back," his mother said.

Not a problem anymore.

Oh by the way, Albert’s team did not make the arm using traditional machines.

The team made the arm with 3D printers and common off the shelf gears.

Normal prosthetic arms can run tens of thousands of dollars.

Alex's new arm?

"Close to $350," said Moreno.

Albert and his team did not do this for class credit, and they will not sell the arms.

Instead, they'll make the plans available free for any parent who needs them.

"We have a responsibility to do this. With these degrees in engineering... if we can't be helping people with it... then what are they worth?" said Moreno.

That’s the kind of thinking that changes lives.

"They just, wanna make people happy, and make their lives easier," said Alex’s mother.

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