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The real Iron Man just might be a 7-year-old Alex Pring. The source of his power? A brand-new prosthetic arm, delivered by none other than Tony Stark.
Over the summer, Alex got a 3-D printed arm from Albert Manero, who is currently pursuing his doctorate in aerospace engineering at the University of Central Florida. The arm cost only $350 to print — far less than the $40,000 that similar prostheses traditionally cost.
The prosthetic limb let Alex (who was born without his right arm) pick up objects, thanks to a sensor that detected movements in his biceps and a battery that lasted all day.
Now Alex is getting a new, superhero-themed arm from Manero, delivered by a celebrity who knows a thing or two about pretending to be a superhero.
Robert Downey Jr., who will reprise his role as Iron Man in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," stayed in character as he talked to a very dapper Alex. Both Downey and Alex tried on bionic Iron Man arms. The boy’s arm worked great; the movie star’s blinked out of control, causing him to joke that Alex got the better version.
The celebrity and the boy were connected through Microsoft's Collective Project. While not every child who needs a prosthetic limb can get one delivered by Iron Man, 3-D printing has made them a lot more affordable for families in need. Maybe Alex can team up with Liam Porter, who received a Star Wars-themed arm earlier this year.