Iron Man Delivers 3D Printed Arm to Child in Need

iron man 3d printed arm

Many seven-year-old boys dream of becoming superheroes. That dream came pretty close to reality recently for Alex, a boy who was born with a partially developed arm.

The seven-year-old received a bionic 3D printed arm made to look like the arm of Iron Man and it was delivered by none other than Robert Downey Jr., who plays Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies. He stayed in character as Stark while meeting with Alex and he even tried on his own Iron Man arm to have some fun his new protégé.

After the event, Downey Jr. posted on Facebook:


The video, which was captured by Microsoft’s “The Collective Project,” shows the meeting between Downey Jr. and Alex, who proudly shows off his new bionic 3D printed arm.

Albert Manero, a college student and senior director or Limbitless Solutions, is the one who created the bionic 3D printed arm for Alex. Limbitless Solutions is an organization is run by volunteers like Manero who design open-source 3D printed limbs and donate them to children in need.

This is just one of the ways that 3D printing is making a huge impact on the medical industry. Artificial limbs can be incredibly expensive and difficult to produce. So for kids like Alex, accessing these limbs can be difficult if not impossible.

But 3D printing allows people to design prosthetic limbs digitally and then the technology will take care of the rest. So the process can be a lot more cost effective, particularly when creating limbs for growing kids who will need new ones on a fairly regular basis.

That’s why organizations like Limbitless Solutions are working to make the whole process much easier and a whole lot less expensive for kids in need. And in this case, they even helped a kid feel like a superhero.

Image: The Collective Project/YouTube


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

4 Reactions
  1. Guys like Albert Manero, who created the arm, need all the press they can get because they’re providing a life-changing service to people. Glad that Tony Stark, I mean Robert Downey Jr. (who I think likes being Tony Stark as much as he likes being himself), could make it more special and broaden awareness.

    • Yes, this type of thing definitely calls a lot of attention to important causes and organizations like this one that wouldn’t necessarily get lots of press otherwise, despite the fact that they’re offering truly amazing things to people who really need them.

  2. That was nice. I am sure that it made his day. This will give hope to more than children but people who need prosthetics.