Limbitless Solutions, a non-profit that creates prosthetics arms for children, pivoted its production capabilities during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to help produce face shield components and other needed supplies for local hospitals.
The UCF-based organization also worked with national collaborators as it sought ways to extend its reach. Limbitless leaders published a peer-reviewed article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health recently, which outlines what they learned and provides recommendations for universities so they can help support local healthcare facilities prepare for future crisis.
One of the recommendations is to build relationships with local hospitals and work on 3D printing capacity ahead of an emergency. On Thursday, the laboratory hosted leaders from Orlando Health to talk about continued collaboration efforts for future emergencies.
“We decided to share our analysis and recommendations in the manuscript because universities are part of their communities and uniquely positioned to be a part of solutions to global and local problems,” says Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD, CEO and co-founder of Limbitless Solutions. “We learned a lot from our experience and see the potential to help local hospitals be ready for next time.”
The article addresses the strengths and challenges of using 3D printing for different types of protective equipment, medical devices or accessories that have been in demand since the intensification of pandemic’s effects. The recommendations address the construction of local and national efforts for collaboration and coalition building between sectors to support affected populations. By leveraging the support of the federal government for clear regulation and approved design management, additional validation and file security can be incorporated into the process.
The COVID-19 outbreak profoundly challenged the global supply chain for medical equipment and devices. The challenges led to collaborations among medical institutions, academic institutions and corporations to 3D print components of medical face shields for healthcare workers. Using distributed and additive manufacturing [3D printing], coalition support can prevent supply chain challenges during peak surge events. Now the collaboration is supporting design and manufacturing challenges and maintaining readiness should additional surge events occur.
Limbitless Solutions joined the Stratasys-led coalition early in March, and the non-profit organization pivoted manufacturing and production efforts to support hospitals in the Orlando community.
Limbitless delivered more than 600 face shield components, in addition to over 400 earsavers to Orlando Health and the on-campus UCF community from March 15 to April 30.
“We are really excited to be able to continue to support Orlando Health,” says Manero. “We want to thank their staff and doctors for their tireless efforts to protect and heal our community.”
About Limbitless Solutions
Limbitless Solutions is a non-profit and University of Central Florida (UCF) direct support organization dedicated to empowering children in the limb difference community. Limbitless creates personalized, creative, and expressive 3D-printed bionic arms currently in clinical trials. The organization was founded in 2014 by then UCF students with the belief that no family should be financially burdened because their child has a limb difference.
Limbitless Solutions’ main projects – Bionic Arms, Project Xavier, and Bionic Training Video Games – all center around empowering confidence in the lives of individuals. Based at the University of Central Florida main campus in Orlando, Florida, Limbitless Solutions provides undergraduate students an opportunity to engage in the research lab to expand their research skill and professional development. In these unpredictable times, the team is grateful for the opportunity to help create #3DHope for medical professionals and the global community.