The founder of Limbitless Solutions is leading a multidisciplinary team to design and build 3-D printed robotic arms for children in need around the world.
“The University of Central Florida impressed upon me the importance of outreach, leading me to pursue opportunities to impact the development of students and my community through engineering.”— Albert Manero
When Albert Manero was a kid, his parents taught him the importance of making the world a better place. “[They] always encouraged me to use my education to help others and to dream big dreams,” he says. “Now I want to inspire others to help engineer hope for the world.”
That inspiration has taken form in Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit devoted to bringing 3-D printed bionic arms and hands to children at no cost to their families. Leading a multidisciplinary group of volunteer UCF students and alumni, Manero has designed and donated battery-operated devices to young people across the United States, and given the plans to international groups so they can assist children in their regions. “I have a dream that someday we can work with the U.N. and UNICEF to set up 3-D stations around the world to help every child who can benefit from this,” Manero says.
Limbitless Solutions gained national attention recently when actor Robert Downey Jr. helped deliver an updated Iron Man-themed arm to 7-year-old Alex Pring, the recipient of the group’s first creation in July 2014. The video of the meeting, which was a part of Microsoft’s Collective Project, has garnered nearly 10 million views on YouTube and earned the Limbitless team international notoriety.
Since its inception, the group has received hundreds of requests from children in need from across the globe. Their first international recipient was a 6-year-old boy from Brazil and their next enterprise is a partnership with the nonprofit Help Syria to build and donate 75 arms to children impacted by the violence in that country.
“We have a waitlist of about 200 kids right now and we have a committee that goes through every story to look for the ones that we can be the most help to,” Manero says. “My goal is to give them a chance to chase their dreams and have the tools necessary go after whatever they want.”
For his volunteer achievements, Manero has been recognized with the Order of Pegasus, UCF’s most prestigious student award. And his Limbitless Solutions team has expanded their scope to encourage other UCF students to use science, engineering and art to effect positive change through innovation and research.
“I have learned how to ‘dream big dreams’ and about global innovation, which has encouraged me to pursue my aerospace and biomedical engineering research on a global scale,” Manero says. “I want to push the limits of design, engineering and art to make people say ‘wow’.”
- East Lake, Florida
- Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Central Florida
- Committed to volunteer activities that use engineering for more than just research
- Recipient of the STEAM Dream Team award and Microsoft Collective Project
- Founder of Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit devoted to bringing 3-D printed bionic arms to children around the world at no cost to their families
- Works to encourage other UCF students to use science, engineering and art to impact their communities and pursue global innovation and research