Limbitless Solutions, a research facility in the University of Central Florida’s research enterprise, was featured at the 2023 Adobe MAX conference, which drew over 10,000 attendees in-person in Los Angeles and 130,000 online at max.adobe.com. More than 100 corporate sponsors were in attendance, including leading technology companies like Google, Microsoft and TikTok. With generative artificial intelligence (AI) taking center stage at Adobe Max 2023, the talk at the Creative Park Theater stage focused on the role AI will continue to play in supporting non-profit organizations. While the AI session seated 100 people, over 250 additional attendees joined from the standing room section.
Utilizing 3D printing and in-house manufacturing, Limbitless develops and advances its bionic arm design, reducing the weight and cost compared to traditional devices. Patients also personalize their bionic arms by customizing interchangeable magnetic “sleeves” as tools for their personal expression. Powered by philanthropy and corporate partnerships, Limbitless Solutions provides these bionic arms to children at no cost to their families through clinical trials with hospitals nationwide. Limbitless Solutions operates as a uniquely interdisciplinary environment with opportunities for more than 50 undergraduate students across many of UCF’s colleges, from art to medicine and public relations to computer science.
Led by UCF faculty members Matt Dombrowski ’05 ’08MFA with UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) and Peter Smith ’05MS ’12PhD with UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media, Limbitless also creates its own video games and uniquely leverages video game-based training that converts muscle flexing into the video game character’s actions.
In addition to the stage presentation at this year’s conference, Limbitless also had the unique opportunity to have an art exhibit in Adobe’s “Creative Park.” The reimagined Creative Park brought conference attendees together in new ways with intentional networking neighborhoods, community activations hosted by sponsors, customer spotlights, and a showcase on how purpose-driven creativity is making a positive impact around the world. The Limbitless bionic arms, with the unique interchangeable cosmesis designs, were represented to showcase the design and integration of art and technology. UCF SVAD undergraduate students and past Limbitless bionic kids were also featured in the display.
This is the fourth time Limbitless Solutions was recognized at Adobe MAX for its unique approach to providing affordable, multi-gesture bionic prosthetics for children through innovative technology. In 2018, Dombrowski, Limbitless creative director, and Limbitless Co-founder and Executive Director Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD, were invited to speak at a breakout session focused on non-profit STEAM research. Dombrowski returned to Adobe MAX in 2019 to co-keynote EduMAX with then SVAD undergraduate student and Limbitless art intern Anna Stafford ’19BFA. That same year, Limbitless’ Bionic Kid comic and bionic arms were showcased behind Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen on the main stage, sparking what would eventually become a celebrated partnership between the two organizations.
In 2020, Adobe committed a $100,000 grant to support plans for expanding the Limbitless Lab at UCF — a program-changing gift. Limbitless Branding Director Mrudula Peddinti ’18 co-led a session at the all-virtual Adobe MAX that year. Since then, Adobe has continued to support training and access for students. The application of generative technologies allows for enhanced concept art generation and digital storytelling in a powerful way, something Limbitless hopes to continue to implement as it serves more patients. Dombrowski, named one of Adobe’s 2023 Creators to Watch, pushed to incorporate these technologies since Adobe Firefly’s initial beta testing launch was featured in Forbes.
“With Firefly, even non-traditional artists can contribute to creative conversations”, Dombrowski says. “That’s incredibly valuable for an organization like ours that creates something both highly technical and highly emotive.”
Limbitless Solutions believes that generative AI can support more creative and expressive storytelling, adding digital effects previously difficult to bring to life.
“At Limbitless we like to say we don’t view collaboration as just working with companies. We work with people,” Dombrowski says. “We are grateful for the people who have joined us in amplifying the voices of students and underserved communities through the power of creativity and technology. We look forward to continuing that creative journey into the future.”