3D printed bionic prostetic

The Limbitless Project – a look into the future of possibilities

One of the exciting aspects of attending the TEDActive conference each year is the prospect of getting involved in a variety of new and innovative projects that occur outside of the TED Talks. At the 2015 TEDActive Truth and Dare conference I found myself teaming up with a small group of innovative thinkers comprised of conference attendees and representatives from IDEO.

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Photo credit: TED Conference by Marla Aufmuth

Albert Manero, a Fulbright scholar and doctoral student in mechanical engineering at the University of Central Florida, founded the Limbitless Project. This is a volunteer group who have designed and built affordable 3D printed bionic arms, while making the designs freely available to others using open source software.

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Photo credit: TED Conference by Marla Aufmuth

While Albert and his team of engineers are able to develop technology of this nature, they found themselves in the position of not knowing how to take forward the project as a non profit venture, and enlisted the help of the TED Community to assist. The goal was to design a business model for a socially inclusive initiative aimed at children who can’t afford prosthetic enhancements.

TEDActive 2015

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

Using the approach of Design Thinking methods, we gathered together for several workshops during the week to collaborate on developing an appropriate solution for the venture. The vibe and energy that came from this small collective of people was extremely high, as they each bought together their unique skills to contribute to a bigger cause.

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Photo credit: TED Conference by Marla Aufmuth

We workshopped new ideas on how to connect with the wider global community, triggering some great discussions in the process, part of the magic that makes the experience so special and goes beyond the ideas and quickly evolves into a rich exchange of real world possibilities.

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Photo credit: TED Conference by Marla Aufmuth

The network of change makers developed, grew, and expanded the concepts that will be implemented. We weren’t just talking about how to make the world a better place, we put together plans of action, we connected to find missing puzzle pieces and gained significant insights into problems through secret doors and discovering elegant solutions.

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Photo credit: TED Conference by Marla Aufmuth

Further reading on this initiative can be obtained at: CBC news article – Iron Man-themed bionic arm creator Albert Manero expanding project worldwide

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