Future recipients of 3D-printed prosthetic arms from UCF’s Limbitless Solutions will have new designs to choose from beginning in 2019, thanks to the makers of video games League of Legends and Halo.
Riot Games, creator and publisher of League of Legends, and 343 Industries, maker of Halo, collaborated with Limbitless Solutions to create seven new prosthetic-arm designs inspired by their games. League of Legends is a team-based multiplayer online battle arena video game. Halo is a first-person shooter game that centers on a galaxy at war and the epic adventures of protagonist, the Master Chief.
Designs from League of Legends include three inspired by characters—Odyssey Jinx, Illaoi, and Maokai—and two inspired by settings from the game—Star Guardian and Shurima. The two designs from Halo are inspired by different armor suits of the Master Chief. The designs are in the form of interchangeable sleeves that attach to the prosthetic device via magnets to allow the children to swap out for different designs as they please.
“It is so exciting to be able to add these new designs to the catalog for children to customize their arms,” said Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD, CEO and co-founder of Limbitless Solutions. “It will unlock new expression and confidence for children, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with these companies’ design teams.”
The collaboration with Riot spawned from an employee’s desire to support Limbitless and UCF, his alma mater. Through Thunderdome, a biannual hackathon event for Riot employees where they work on passion projects for 48 hours, this alumnus energized a group of Rioters to make these designs for Limbitless. The collaboration with 343 Industries began in March at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where Microsoft Studios employees connected Limbitless team members with the makers of Halo.
Limbitless was founded in 2014 by Manero and a group of fellow students after a mother reached out to Manero for help in creating a prosthetic arm for her son who was born without most of his right arm. At about $40,000, prosthetics currently on the market were not in the family’s budget. Manero and the team found an affordable alternative by using 3D-printed material and sensor stickers to be placed on the child’s skin to activate the prosthetic when muscles are flexed.
Limbitless has since become a nonprofit organization based at UCF and has enhanced the capabilities and design of their prosthetic arm. The latest version includes multiple motors and smartphone app integration to both improve a child’s ability to grip objects and use the arm for various gestures. The interchangeable sleeves are also one of the latest features of the arms.
In 2019, Limbitless’ prosthetic arm devices will be tested and studied in the first U.S. clinical trial of 3D-printed prosthetics for children. Twenty children will receive the latest arm devices and will get to select two sleeve designs from the catalog to customize their arm as part of the clinical trial, which may lead to future Food and Drug Administration clearance and coverage by insurance companies.
Beyond prosthetic arms, Limbitless creates video games that help train and strengthen the arm muscles of the recipients, and also develops technology for wheelchair users with limited hand and arm dexterity to move the chair with the temporalis muscles in their head.
For more on Limbitless Solutions, visit limbitless-solutions.org.