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U.S. 3D Printed Bionic Limbs Expert Joins Science Festival


U.S. 3D Printed Bionic Limbs Expert Joins 2016 Science Festival Line-Up

The founder of a non-profit organisation devoted to gifting personalised bionic limbs to children in need will join this year’s New Zealand International Science Festival in Dunedin.

Albert Manero, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at the University of Central Florida, began Limbitless Solutions – a volunteer-driven organisation of engineers and developers of 3D bionic arms – as a solution to high cost artificial limbs. The organisation, which believes no child should be prevented access to a bionic limb – takes 3D printing to a new level by creating personalised bionic limbs. Its first arm cost less than $350 in materials – much cheaper than the $40,000 price tag of some prosthetics.

To date, while the team has focused on arms for children, whose small prosthetics are harder to build and quickly outgrown, but is expanding into bionic legs and elbow joints. The team has helped children become superheroes – one boy was gifted a Limbitless-designed Iron Man arm by Robert Downey Jr – while US ‘bionic model’ Rebekah Marine wore a Limbitless bionic arm at this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Sponsored by the Otago Polytechnic with funding support from the US Embassy, Manero, and his Limbitless colleague Brendon Jones, will speak on Friday evening, July 15 at the College of Education Auditorium, about using 3D technology to change lives.

“My team and I are thrilled to bring our story of #3DHope to New Zealand’s International Science Festival,” says Manero.

“The event represents our mission –to show how technology can impact our communities and better the lives of those in need.”

New Zealand International Science Festival Director Chris Green says the Limbitless team have a powerful and inspiring story to share, which will be a highlight of the Festival.

“These guys are using technology to make an incredible difference in a child’s life and they have so much passion and commitment to their mission of helping children around the world in need. It shows what can be achieved when you combine a passion for science with a passion for people.”

Tickets for the Limbitless talk along with other Festival events are now available through TicketDirect. More than 170 events will be held during the week from July 8-16, which is largely funded by the Dunedin City Council, the University of Otago and the Otago Community Trust. Ninety per cent of the events are free and open to the public. To check out a full programme, go to www.scifest.org.nz.

ENDS

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