Limitless Solutions to help Kids live a Normal Lifeby Yash Saboo June 20 2018, 4:43 am Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 16 secs
Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has publicly praised the University of Central Florida for the second time in a month and this time, he focuses on Limbitless Solutions, a start-up by students, under the leadership of Albert Manero, which produces custom-designed bionic arms for children. What's even better is that the bionic arms are provided to their families at no cost at all.
Source: University of Central Florida
Bill, along with his wife Melinda Gates visited UCF last year and touted Limbitless this week on his personal blog, Gates Notes. He started by describing his meeting with a 13-year-old girl named Annika Emmert, whose life was changed, thanks to the work of Limbitless Solutions.
"Annika was born with a partially developed right arm, which drew lots of unwanted stares from other kids as she was growing up. When Annika’s parents heard about Limbitless, they reached out to Manero’s team to see if they could help Annika design her own artificial limb. Annika proudly showed me her creation—a bionic arm painted light blue and decorated with white and pink flowers", writes Gates.
How is Limbitless different from other prosthetics? Engineers and artists at the company design and produce colourful limbs that feature hands with movable fingers that can grasp objects using the wearer’s electrical signals rather than mimicking the appearance of human skin as most prosthetics do, Gates wrote. They aim to address the needs of thousands of children who were either born without arms or lost them because of accidents or disease.
“Limbitless is out there to make a change. Prosthetic arms for adults, of course, are widely available, but access for many children who need them is difficult or they are unwilling to use them”, says Manero, president of Limbitless Solutions. Children complain that traditional prosthetics are heavy, uncomfortable, or often include a hook for picking things up, sometimes drawing unwanted attention and teasing from other children.
Gates writes that the first bionic arm the Limbitless team created was an Iron Man-inspired limb for a 7-year-old boy, Alex Pring, who loves superheroes. (Robert Downey Jr. teamed up with Limbitless to deliver the bionic arm to Alex in 2015.) Other bionic arms are decorated with flowers, bright colours, and other designs inspired by the children’s interests.
Children who were often asked ‘What’s wrong with you?’ find that they are now the center of attention whenever they enter a room. Thus, the bionic arms have had a life-changing impact not only on the children’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks like getting dressed, picking things up, or buckling a seatbelt, but also their own sense of themselves.