Have you seen this superhero inspired, low-cost prosthetic arm made possible through 3D printing?
For a lot of young superhero fans, there’s probably nothing cooler than getting a visit from Iron Man star, Robert Downey Jr. This is especially true for seven year-old Alex, a boy who recently received a 3D printed bionic arm delivered by Tony Stark himself—who’s understandably a little envious of the remarkable technology.
Excitement For Iron Man Fans And Medical Manufacturing
This news is exciting for more than just Iron Man fans. The manufacturing of medical devices like bionic and robotic prosthetics is not only becoming more advanced, it’s becoming more accessible, affordable, and easier to produce through the process of 3D printing. Apart from looking great and allowing for more dynamic control by the user, this bionic limb could be the starting point for a new era in medical manufacturing: one that includes prosthetic limbs, braces, and mobility assistance technology made significantly faster and cheaper than current options.
Mechanical Engineering And Additive Manufacturing
The Iron Man prosthetic featured in the now-viral video comes from Limbitless Solutions. The nonprofit organization run by students from the University of Florida has used mechanical engineering, additive manufacturing, and surface electromyography to create this full functioning bionic limb. While the prosthetic took about eight months to develop, it costs just $350 in materials and was created by small teams of students.
Making Technology More Accessible
This prosthetic represents a significant cost reduction from the $40,000 that the average prosthetic limb costs. It shows that smart manufacturing, along with innovative engineering, can amount to significant advances in medical technology and make that technology more accessible to individuals around the world.
From Novelty To Practical Manufacturing
Medical component and materials developers may also see increased demand for parts and technologies that suit this new form of production. While 3D printing was see as little more than a novelty just a few years ago, it’s practical applications have not only grown, it could change the way companies across all industrial, commercial, and medical sectors develop products.
Embracing Pioneering Technology
The Iron Man arm from Limbitless Solutions also shows how innovation can come from any source. Manufacturers that find ways to embrace technology like 3D printing in a similarly pioneering fashion will no doubt have a competitive edge in the future of medical manufacturing, or in any industry.
Are you surprised to learn that this remarkable prosthetic was created for just hundreds of dollars and by a small team of students? Are you also looking for new ways to develop products in a smarter, faster, and cheaper way?
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