U. Central Florida is expanding its bionic limbs lab

(Limbitless Solutions)

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Students at the University of Central Florida will have more opportunities to help design and build bionic limbs in a new laboratory space set to open next year, the university announced this week.

Limbitless Solutions, a UCF nonprofit started by several students in 2014, is expanding its lab space from its original smaller lab to grow the group’s research and production capabilities. The new lab will include a new creative space to support student collaboration on biomedical engineering, manufacturing and research.

Limbitless creates and donates personalized 3D-printed prosthetic arms for children, designed in collaboration with engineers and artists. It also promotes access and engagement in STEAM education though field trips, internships and educational videos. The nonprofit relies on a diverse range of student talent, including students studying health sciences, engineering and art, to design and create bionic limbs for children who have undergone amputations.

“We wanted to make a space where engineers, scientists, artists and storytellers could come together to tackle challenges and stigma associated with accessibility and mobility,” Mrudula Peddinti, human experience design lead for Limbitless Solutions, said in a press release.

The new facility will include dedicated manufacturing space and a paint chamber to improve the safety and scalability of the design work. The lab will also house industrial 3D printers and a new vacuum-forming process for creating plastic molds.

This new space will help Limbitless expand its production as it works with several hospitals — including Oregon Health and Science University and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville — on new research studies to test and evaluate new bionic arms.

Limbitless Solutions also employs and offers formal internships to UCF students, with with more than 30 students participating in the lab in Spring 2020. A new lab space will is hoped to allow the nonprofit to expand opportunities to more college students, as well as K-12 students interested in design and engineering, according to the group’s announcement.

The new lab space is expected to open next March.

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