Robert Downey Jr. and Microsoft team up to give a 3D-printed arm to a child in need

Iron Man himself, a.k.a. actor Robert Downey Jr., teamed up with Microsoft to offer a very special 3D-printed limb to Alex Pring, a seven-year-old boy that was born with a partially-developed right arm. The festivities were filmed as part of The Collective Project, an effort promoted by Microsoft's OneNote division that spotlights students who are making efforts to help improve the world.

In this case, the student is Albert Manero, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at the University of Central Florida. He helped to found Limbitless, which has the goal of offering 3D-printed arms to kids that need them for about $350, a far cheaper price than what normal prosthetic limbs cost.. Microsoft first talked about Manero's efforts in a blog post in February, and that apparently got Robert Downey Jr.'s attention.

Downey may play the part of billionaire inventor Tony Stark, but in this case he helped to deliver an Iron Man-style 3D-printed arm that was created by Manero to give to Alex, who is a big fan of superheroes in general and Iron Man in particular. The video shows Downey and Alex bonding over their bionic arms and generally having a good time meeting each other. It's certainly cool that Downey Jr. wanted to give Alex a very special delivery.

Microsoft is no stranger to 3D printing. It sells MakerBot 3D printers in some of its retail stores and launched a Windows 8.1 3D Builder app that lets anyone create and print models with compatible hardware.

Source: Office (YouTube)

John Callaham