3D printing technologies already deliver key benefits to medicine across diverse applications. We’ve written about 3D printed cartilage implants, sensors and electronics that are 3D-printed directly on the skin, and 3D printed hemispherical bionic eyes. Various forms of additive manufacturing for external and internal human structures open the doors to new opportunities in medical and assistive care.

Limbitless Solutions, a Florida non-profit organization, focuses on one 3D-printing application: creating personalized bionic arms for children. The company’s mission is based on the belief that a prosthetic limb which expresses a child’s creativity and imagination has benefits far beyond its functional benefits. In the accompanying video Robert Downey, Jr. meets a young man with an Iron Man-inspired prosthetic arm. Downey puts on his own Iron Man costume prosthetic, which delights the boy.

Limbitless donates its expressive 3D-printed prosthetic arms at no cost to children and their families. The concept of giving a kid an inspirational boost based on his or her choice of superhero or other design that helps them feel special while also adding functional utility resets the boundaries for further work in prosthetics development.