In Other News: Alex Pring & Limbitless Solutions

4 min read

A look at a current news item through the lens of different Gale electronic resources.

By Michelle Eickmeyer

This. Yesterday the world met Alex Pring. This clearly precocious 7 year old is featured in a video by The Collective Project, receiving a new prosthetic arm from an offshoot of the Project, Limbitless Solutions. That this organization exists is mind-boggling, thrilling, chilling, and awe-inspiring. (I’ve talked in other posts about how writing this series is often a review of the worst of humanity. Not today!)

Aside from my nephews, Alex may be the most adorable little boy I’ve ever seen. His smile giving away his excitement. And who could blame him — he’s getting the coolest arm… and meeting Iron Man. NBD. But this is not the first (and I’m CERTAIN not the last) time we’ll be seeing Alex. In July 2014, Alex’s story was featured on by ABC, documenting the process of receiving his first arm and the work of a group of students at the University of Central Florida who printed Alex’s new arm. Yep, printed.  In February, he was involved in an attempt to break the Guinness’ World Record for longest high-five chain, held at UCF. His excitement for the experience and interest in being normal are endearing and reassuring.

The scene was charming and the resulting exuberance contagious. Near the end of the clip you see a part of the team who are truly responsible for this meeting and this excitement. A group of UCF students, led by Albert Manero, who worked to solve a life-changing riddle: how can I solve this problem faster and more economically? And wow did they!

Here’s a look through four online resources from Gale.

Biography in Context

Remember when we were supposed to hate Robert Downey Jr., and how weird it was that he was on Ally McBeal? And then how truly sad we were that he got in trouble again, that this really seemed like the time it was going to work for him? Barely. Consider that none of the students coming into your library, who have watched and shared this video, know “that” RDJ. They know a successful action movie star, new father, and humanitarian. From current movies to previous prison sentences, get to know more about the man behind Iron Man with this resource. (I’d like to say — what a great example of rehabilitation!)

Business Insights: Global

Many hands make light work, or so the saying goes. This is the premise behind the Collective Project. Their goal is make connections — connect people who are passionate about making a difference and who have the knowledge, skill, and wherewithal to get it done. Limbitless Solutions (as a marketer, this name is perfection!) is a result of a Collective Project project. Looking to make your mark in a similar industry? From public health, to genetic research, to manufacturing, to myriad of other things, making a difference in someone’s life is really what it’s all about. Take a look at the industry trends and averages with this resource.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Ok – I’m going to talk about it and then I’m going to move on. Alex was born with a birth defect, which would have been detectable via ultrasound in utero. Many other disesases and conditions are tested for and diagnosed while a woman is pregnant, presenting conversations and decisions to parents. Living with disability, in utero treatment options, termination. Explore both sides of these conversations, and more, in this resource.

Science in Context

A prosthetic arm, with functioning hand, will cost something around $40,000. (in researching this, I found articles quoting over $100,000 for limbs.) Not all insurance companies cover prosthetic limbs; almost callously some only cover ONE for a lifetime. For a child, who continues to grow, the need to replace that prosthetic is undeniable. Alex will not always be 7, but Alex will always need a prosthetic lower arm and right hand. The cost of prosthetic limbs gained some needed attention after the Boston Marathon bombing, where more than 14 victims lost at least one limb. Enter the 3D printer, and unlikely hero in the fight for mobility and access. A group of students from UCF printed Alex’s first arm, with over the counter materials for $350. $350!  Learn more about what is possible with 3D printing with this mixed media resource. (The UCF Knights…. I think so!)



photoAbout the Author

Michelle is an “anytime!” traveler and language enthusiast. She has degrees in talking from Central Michigan and Michigan State University. She is currently becoming a runner and used to play golf in high school.


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