A bionic arm business created by the University of Central Florida’s own engineering students has now gained official university status.
UCF officials held a growing love for the group as they provided low-cost ‘bionic’ limbs to children. The 3-D printed, personalized appendages built for the youth – afflicted by medical conditions that cause the growing children to live without a limb – earned attention from international media, including an outreach from families across the world who would see the news.
Celebrities, such as Robert Downey, Jr. – who made the trip to the UCF main campus over a break in class, participated in the presentation of an arm to a child. Alex Pring became the first to receive an arm from Limbitless Solutions and soon traveled with the team as they grew.
The UCF Board of Trustees voted unanimously to make the non-profit a part of the university, officially, and swiftly made a motion to provide the students with school salaries, free office space, and support from UCF “by operating as a direct support organization of the school,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The organization will also benefit from rent-free, on-campus offices in addition to access to the university’s legal team, public relations team, and other administrative resources.
Limbitless Solutions Executive Director Albert Manero expressed gratitude to the trustees. Manero recently earned his third degree in engineering from UCF.
“It represents a huge opportunity. Our goals are really, really big. In order to do that, we didn’t have the infrastructure for the types of partnerships [we’re] looking for,” Manero said, the Sentinel reported.
According to a budget allocated to the newfound direct support organization in their first year, amounting to $566,250, funds will be split to account for $50,000 in marketing, $187,500 and $156,250 in salaries and benefits, and $172,000 in additional wages for students, according to the Sentinel.
A money source to support the budget has not yet been drawn although the team may bring in an external source of funds, UCF officials told the Sentinel.
UCF Corporate Counsel Scott Cole maintains that President Hitt will hold the power to appoint and remove members of the Limbitless board, the Sentinel reported. Public financial reports will be made quarterly to trustees, according to Cole.
“This is all done as a public service [and] this makes them very unique in the market,” said Cole, according to the Sentinel.