3D printing bionic arms for displaced Syrian kids

28 Aug 2015

One of the growing number of 3D-printing organisations aimed at aiding people missing limbs, Limbitless, has launched a crowdfunding project to help send its devices to Syria.

The Indiegogo campaign is seeking to raise US$40,000 to help send 75 bionic limbs and books to displaced Syrian kids, after Limbitless teamed up with Help Syria.

Help Syria is getting some of the key information sorted at the moment, finding our what kid needs what and the dimensions needed by Limbitless to get the show on the road.

Future Human

You might remember Limbitless from a viral YouTube video earlier in the year which showed how Alex, a six-year-old missing most of his right arm, was given an Iron Man replacement by Robert Downey Jr.

It is from projects like this that the business is expanding, with this Syrian project quite an undertaking.

“Limbitless solutions had the opportunity to deliver an arm with Robert Downey Jr for Alex Pring,” explained Albert Manero, executive director of Limbitless. “We realised we can’t stop here, so Limbitless is going global.”

The Indiegogo campaign has only just started, with a full 45 days left for people to get involved. Rewards like mini arm models, interactive key chains and even tours of the Limbitless facilities are available for donors.

3D printing prosthetics is all the rage at the moment. Earlier this week, a 3D-printed prosthetic hand picked up the top prize in the UK leg of the James Dyson Award.

The hand, designed by 25-year-old Joel Gibbard of Open Bionics, won the chance to compete in the world finals of the highly-coveted award, with his advanced design cutting the cost and time needed to create prosthetic limbs.

eNABLE, meanwhile, is another organisation charged with creating prosthetics for those in need, with an Irish member of the team recently explaining to us in detail just how he goes about creating these devices for less than it costs to do your weekly shop.

There are even medtech researchers working on 3D printing pens to help ‘draw’ restorative cells onto injured body parts, or 3D-printed handheld devices to give instant readings of patients’ vitals.

So it makes complete sense when projects like these are married to crowdfunding campaigns.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic