College kids make robotic arms for children without real ones

Story highlights

  • Around the world, volunteers with 3-D printers are making limbs for children.
  • Meet some Orlando engineering students changing the world.

(CNN)By the time Cynthia Falardeau read about Alex Pring, a little boy who got a battery-powered robotic arm last summer, she had made peace with her son Wyatt's limb difference.

Her premature baby had been born with his right arm tangled in amniotic bands. At a week old, doctors amputated his dead forearm and hand. They were afraid his body would be become infected and he would die. Falardeau mourned her boy's missing arm for years but, in time, embraced her son as he was.
Wyatt also learned to adapt. They tried a couple of prosthetics when he was younger and each time the toddler abandoned the false limb within months.
    "His main interest was to create a shocking response from onlookers by pulling it off in the grocery store," Falardeau wrote on CNN iReport. In truth, she had been more concerned about getting him therapy for his autism-related delays -- the limb difference was secondary.
    So when a friend shared a story from the "Today Show" with Wyatt in mind, about a team of University of Central Florida (UCF) students and graduates that made an electronic arm for 6-year-old Pring using a three-dimensional printer on campus, Falardeau was defensive.
    "He doesn't need this," she thought.
    Her fifth-grader had a different reaction: "I want one of these robot arms!" Falardeau remem