3D printing has led the way for changing the world in numerous unexpected ways, paving the way for transformations in many sectors via the versatility, creativity, and affordability made possible by the combination of digital design and 3D printing.
And while the world is being offered many surprises, one of the best is that wearing a prosthetic is not just that much more possible, comfortable and affordable—it’s downright cool. That’s what happens when the medical sector, technology, and artists come together to produce something as positive and amazing as the 3D printed prosthetic—and especially the one being sported right now by Wyatt Falardeau of Vero Beach, FL.
With a salute to Blue Man Group, front and center, Wyatt Falardeau’s 3D printed prosthetic was created in bright blue as a tribute to his favorite musical group, which is a dynamic theatrical sensation (and another article just to describe them in itself).
Made by University of Central Florida’s student-led Limbitless Solutions, Wyatt’s prosthetic was one of the first produced and distributed, with three children currently receiving the 3D printed prosthetics. The arms, made at a cost of about $350 are engineered and constructed using ‘off-the shelf servos’ and a Stratasys 3D printer.
Not only does Wyatt now possess an incredibly functional—and aesthetically pleasing—new arm, but it was actually presented to him by the Blue Man Group, along with a special painting, and lots more excitement. In another incredibly heartwarming meeting, Wyatt was able to shake prosthetics and have a conversation with another very lucky young boy, Alex Pring.
Pring had an inspiring celebrity connection also as his prosthetic was designed by Limbitless too, inspired by Iron Man, and actually presented to him by Robert Downey, Jr. While it might seem like a lot of show and glitz, the inspiration given from musical greats, along with superheroes and actors has been very important and boosts morale—as in Wyatt’s case, his parents pointed out that he really didn’t have any interest in a prosthetic until Limbitless Solutions came up with the idea of a 3D printed prosthetic themed around Blue Man Group.
Born requiring an amputation of his arm on day one, Wyatt and his parents have bravely and persistently met numerous challenges from the hurdles faced with Wyatt’s autism to that of the effort and expense of continuous therapy. A pricey traditional prosthetic was a burden they were trying to figure out how to face, but dealing with Wyatt’s autism was their first priority.
As all parents know, often children really aren’t enthused about something until they see one of their peers engaged in the same exercise—and Wyatt heard about Alex sporting his 3D printed Iron Man prosthetic. He immediately, desperately wanted one, and what a wonderful stroke of luck that indeed he was a candidate.
Wyatt’s 3D printed prosthetic was completed in collaboration with The Collective Project from Microsoft, as well as the Blue Man Group who surprised him with it at Universal Studios on April 3rd and treated him to a backstage tour, the ability to play music behind the scenes, lunch, and a show.
“We started out wanting to create a memorable experience for Wyatt, but in the end, I’m certain we are the ones who will never forget it.” Wes Day, Blue Man Captain for Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando, said. “Limbitless Solutions is changing the world, and we’re honored to support them any way we can.”
Along with Wyatt and Alex, Limbitless also created a 3D printed prosthetic arm for seven-year-old Madelyn Rebsamen, who lives in Lynchburg, Virginia. Limbitless has since been indundated with requests for the prostheses, with individuals from over 40 countries inquiring.
They are also working with the University of Central Florida in the creation of CABAM, the new Center for Applied Biomedical Additive Manufacturing, which will offer the disciplines of engineering, art, and medicine, becoming both a facility and international marketplace for 3D printed biomedical solutions.’
“Limbitless Solutions is a prime example of a group of students with the ingenuity to turn an idea into a flourishing start-up enterprise,” said Tom O’Neal, director of the UCF Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and associate vice president for UCF’s Office of Research and Commercialization. “We are excited to collaborate with them to develop the Center for Applied Biomedical Additive Manufacturing (CABAM) and look forward to seeing how this project transforms biomedical science and the lives of individuals on a local, national and international level.”
Partnering with UCF will allow the Limbitless team to work with scientists, doctors and engineers around the world regarding 3D printing.
“We are so excited to help build a generation of visionaries who use science to make a difference in the world around them,” said John Sparkman, an engineering graduate student at UCF and one of the directors at Limbitless Solutions. “This partnership will help us continue to change children’s lives and to inspire and lead a new generation of students to do even more.”
Do you know a child who may be a candidate for a 3D printed prosthetic? Discuss the 3D printing innovations and services being performed by UCF and Limbitless Solutions in the Limbitless 3D Printed Prosthetic Arm forum over at 3DPB.com.