3D Printing Technology Allows 6-Year-Old to Give Mom His First ‘Real Hug’

Alex Pring was born without most of his right arm. But thanks to the latest in 3D printing technology, the 6-year-old boy was recently able to give his mother a two-handed hug.

With the help of an engineer at the University of Central Florida, Alex is now the proud owner of the world’s first 3D-printed myoelectric prosthetic arm. According to UCF, one of the first things Alex did with his new limb was run and give his mother what he called his first “real hug.”

Photo by Kt Crabb Photography
Photo by Kt Crabb Photography
Photo by Kt Crabb Photography

His arm was designed by Albert Manero, an engineering doctoral student who connected with Alex’s mother through E-Nable, a volunteer group that specializes in 3D-printed prosthetic limbs.

The device responds to Alex’s muscle movement, closing the hand when he flexes his bicep. Similar prosthetic devices can cost about $40,000, according to 3D Print. Manero and his team were able to design and manufacture Alex’s arm for $350.

“If we can do this for $350 in just eight weeks I’m sure that we’re going to keep pioneering,” Manero told ABC World News. “I hope people are upset. These arms should not cost $40,000.”

Photo by Kt Crabb Photography
Photo by Kt Crabb Photography
Photo by Kt Crabb Photography
Limbitless_7-18-2014-048 (1)
Photo by Kt Crabb Photography
Photo by Kt Crabb Photography

To fix this problem, Manero plans to upload the design files and instructions to Thingiverse, allowing anyone to download and print their very own arm. Hopefully, this will lead to more “first hugs.”

“When he hugged me with two hands, he just didn’t let go,” Alex’s mom, Alyson Pring later told The Orlando Sentinel, adding that she hopes it will help her son “see future possibilities and make them seem all the more reachable.”

Photo by Kt Crabb Photography

All photos by Kt Crabb Photography.

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