Albert Manero '12 '14MS '16PhD, the founder of Limbitless Solutions, shared how the non-profit organization started and how his team continued to push the needle forward to provide services to individuals with physical differences.
In the 15th episode of Knights Do That, we talked with Albert Manero '12 '14MS '16PhD. He is a three-time UCF graduate and the founder and president of Limbitless Solutions, a non-profit organization to afford Innovative ways to provide services for children with physical differences. Manero shared what ignited his passion for starting Limbitless, where it is now, and how his team continues to advance tit-for-tat and make an impact on the world.
Produced by UCF, this podcast focuses on students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni who do incredible things on campus, communities, and around the world.
Produced by UCF, this podcast focuses on students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni who do incredible things on campus, communities, and around the world.
Albert Manero: As part of UCF, all of us here have the opportunity to leave their mark. If we do it well, and we do it together, we will truly transform our community into a more inclusive and accessible place. And I think UCF is in a good position to achieve sustained growth and its impact. I am really happy to be here and participate.
Alex Cumming: I have to sit down and talk to Albert Manero, the founder and president of Limbitless Solutions and a three-time UCF graduate. Albert founded Limbitless Solutions while studying for a graduate degree at UCF. He is full of enthusiasm and determination to provide services to children of all types in affordable and innovative ways.
In this episode, we will learn about what ignited Albert's passion for starting Limbitless, where it is now, and how his team continues to advance.
So when I asked you, how did you think of Limbitless Solutions?
Albert Manero: Limbitless really started because I accepted a radio interview. I returned to campus in 2013. The gentleman speaking on the radio is developing the first 3D printed robot between Washington State and South Africa. They emailed documents to and from all over the world so that they could improve this so that they could help someone in London. I heard it, it really moved me. I was a graduate student at the time, and I walked into the laboratory and said, "I really want to be involved, who can help me."
Alex Cumming: You are a three-time alumnus of UCF and have a PhD in mechanical engineering. What does it mean to you to own Limbitless Solutions at UCF?
Albert Manero: I came to UCF in 2007 and started my undergraduate studies. I had an incredible experience here. I'm really happy that Limbitless is based in UCF and is still in the entire culture. For our team from UCF, now working with outstanding UCF students to develop this interdisciplinary research environment, I don't know if we can do this anywhere else. UCF has all the puzzles, fine arts, digital art, engineering, biomedicine of the game designers who work with us, in our facility, we have to bring all these different professions to the room, and then shake everyone up and wait to see some Great things come out.
Alex Cumming: Great. I recently heard you say in a video, "Compassionate technology can change the world." Can you tell me about it?
Albert Manero: We really try to emphasize empathy in design and be able to put ourselves in the mindset of users who use the technology you are developing, whether it's a mobile app, a prosthetic device or any type of artistic design. For our team, we really emphasize the need to maintain this empathy. And I think this is a part that is often missed by the design and engineering circles. Sometimes it may be cold, or you may miss the point of view of the end user. This is what we really try to challenge all our students and our employees to really think about.
Alex Cumming: When you work in such a human field, it is very important to remember empathy and this ultimate goal, not just for this. I mean, yes, there is this project, but it is for this greater good.
Albert Manero: If you can work hard to have this view, not only often, but in fact, it is a daily challenge that can promote your design and promote your creativity in the long run. It really produces the most Unbelievable results.
Alex Cumming: You put empathy and humanity first. Is this what you said?
Albert Manero: Of course.
Alex Cumming: So Limbitless offers internship opportunities in multiple disciplines. Can you describe how Limbitless extends in so many fields?
Albert Manero: We were originally a group of engineers from the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Then we paired up with some teachers from the School of Visual Arts and Design and (the School of Arts and Humanities). Then he studied game design and psychologist science at Nicholson College. This is where we can begin to introduce these different types of creativity. Now, our program has been extended to the nine different colleges of UCF, where all students work together, and about five affiliated faculty members.
This really changes the structure of the program. Therefore, our student internship program is ongoing every semester, and we are very happy to see students from all over the university. All majors can apply, and I hope we can find a way to use this creativity to really promote the development of the physical difference community.
Alex Cumming: Great. UCF is here, this is such a diverse [place] with many excellent faculty, staff and students. I think there is no shortage of excellent applicants.
Albert Manero: It's incredible. We can collaborate with experiential learning to help structure our plan.
Now students can come in from the entire campus. And I don’t know how many universities have this type of course, where you will have a good artist next to an engineer, work with a computer scientist, and work with a game designer on the same table for the same goal. I think this will bring a new experience, especially when these students graduate and then enter the industry, they are fully prepared for things on the other side, because they have to experience the real feeling or the real a feeling of. -The feeling of life industry.
Alex Cumming: You have very few options for interns. In order to be able to use things like Limbitless Solutions, there are not many students who can write such things on their resumes or on their LinkedIn, or can share that they have indeed contributed to such a greater benefit or for the company Work as you said, with such empathy and compassion for this ultimate goal.
Albert Manero: It's great to see students grow in this program. They can work directly with teachers who are sometimes in different universities instead of their own experience, which provides a lot of different perspectives.
But when you talk about their career goals, having these internships or undergraduate research experience as early as possible can open many different doors. This is one of our goals to be able to provide this launch point for many of our students
Alex Cumming: The story behind Limbitless and the stories it shares are so familiar, you can share what Limbitless does. Maybe future employers will say, "Gosh, I'm familiar with that company. What they do there, in the United States and around the world is amazing." Think of Limbitless's outreach, I love it. It's so cool to think about it.
Albert Manero: Oh, yes, thank you. We are very excited for students when they graduate, they can accept this empathy and design, and the ability to work with people from different backgrounds or perspectives.
Then bring it into industry. Hope we can see this ripple effect.
Alex Cumming: Yes. There are not many companies working with them, nor are they a few, and they are at the forefront of empathy and humane work. This is a quality that is difficult to teach at work. So it's really cool to get it in an internship that is so focused on keeping it at the forefront.
Limbitless is conducting clinical trials of Limbitless Bionics. Can you tell me the importance of this process and clinical trials?
Albert Manero: We launched our first clinical trial in 2018. It is an experience to be able to see something from the design stage, or really on the kitchen table, and then transform it into a medical environment in a few years. As our bionics efforts finally get FDA approval for the device, clinical research is very important to be able to verify the design, be able to make improvements, and be able to understand the actual use of the user in the real-world device. The playground test is slightly different from the test you can replicate in the lab. This has taught us a lot about how we build weapons and the intent behind each design decision. In the new year, we will cooperate with Orlando Health to conduct the second clinical trial of the bionic arm in the local area. We are very happy to have such a champion hospital in our hometown to help advance this work as we strive to achieve these big goals.
Alex Cumming: It's so cool. Oh my goodness. How awesome. What does it mean to you to be an integral part of such a precious gem in the Orlando community?
Albert Manero: I think for our project, we really pay attention to the team’s point of view, because when you accept such a huge goal or challenge-such as in this case, barrier-free technology, and the entire university, we have space Challenges, climate and environmental challenges-these challenges are getting bigger and bigger, and you can't solve them with just one point of view or the cooperation of a single department. You must be able to expand it and bring in such a diverse group of people to try to solve these problems. I think Limbitless, we have been able to see the program develop around this model, and now, we hope to aim at bigger things, which no one can do independently. I am very grateful to be a part of this program and to be able to work with the most incredible teams and student groups.
Alex Cumming: So when you started working with Limbitless, during the years you worked, did you see the growth of the people you worked with? At these moments when such beautiful human things have happened, have you seen these people have changed, and now they may have a new perspective on the work they do?
Albert Manero: Well, we smiled and said that our team is growing, just like our bionic children are growing. If you look at the development of the project, we are now in the seventh year. So we finally started to reach the point where we are more comfortable in design work. We are a little more comfortable where we know where to go. But at the same time, we are working hard to develop and improve many areas for team members year after year.
We all started with UCF. It is really exciting to see our alumni are passionate about this kind of things, and then continue to advance the plan and be able to truly interact with our community partners and the physical diversity community. But we have all seen it from the early days to the present. Looking at career development, this is what employees really strive for, because we often talk about what you are reading? What kind of audio books to choose now to try to cultivate these professional skills, and be able to become a better leader, a better designer, and ultimately have a greater impact. A generation
Alex Cumming: I think if it's just this indifferent remote business method, the company will have less impact as you said, but it's not the case.
Albert Manero: I think that when we try to integrate compassion and empathy into every area of the project, it does make you take a step back and have to deal with the situation differently. As leaders, each of us is working hard to learn how to do this most effectively. This is a growing process. So there must be growth troubles, but all of this is for the pursuit of excellence in the overall mission. I really appreciate the opportunity to grow.
Alex Cumming: You said in the leadership, do you find it sometimes difficult to take care of the leadership of such an important personal company, and at the same time try to balance human empathy in this connection element ?
Albert Manero: When I started at UCF, I devoted myself to aerospace engineering. This is my degree job, my PhD research job. Therefore, you may have acquired certain skill sets in different ways. For example, I would like to study UCF's non-profit management degree. But this is the view at the time, and the trajectory is completely different. So I think every day I learn how to do this job and try to do it well. This means being able to listen to the experiences of others, being able to obtain as much information as possible, and being able to deal with it as quickly as possible in order to do a good job. We laughed from an engineering perspective, like a machine never gets angry. When you work like developing new tools, the human side, whether it is being able to be a leader or working in a more clinical environment. That is a completely different point of view, a different vocabulary. These are things that were initially shocked by academic culture. But now we are beginning to make great strides and try to develop this common language and common point of view.
I think this kind of growth is very beneficial because you kind of like to grow through it.
Alex Cumming: I am from Orlando, but even before I became a UCF student or became very familiar with the UCF community, I heard stories about Limbitless, knew what it did for people, and watched amazing videos Of infinity. It's refreshing to know that UCF, even before I was a student and before I am a student, did such amazing things in the community. All the great videos and comments that Limbitless has are, you know, "This is great." I saw a person saying, "It's like a good reminder of the belief in humanity." Did you see this? Kind of comment and considering this, does this keep your work active and alive?
Albert Manero: For us, the moment that really excites us is when children realize that they are taking their arms home. There are always such little eyes, they look to their parents to make sure it is real. Then they got this bright smile. When you see it, you see family interaction, it makes all the rest of the development, business part, and research part worthwhile. This is a rare opportunity to see something from the research laboratory and directly connect with your community. In Central Florida, this is a gift you don’t always get, that is, instant feedback. I think for Limbitless, being able to work directly with our community and seeing translation is the most valuable part of the whole plan.
Alex Cumming: Well, central Florida, Orlando, this is such a vast area. With so many people with so much experience, I can imagine the time you worked tirelessly, trying to get the design and elements correct. Of course, as far as I am concerned, I am not an engineer, I am a theater professional, so this is a bit beyond my cab, so I thank you for putting it in your cab. But I can imagine that in all these hours, you say work and make sure that all angles and dimensions are correct. I can think that sometimes, maybe you hang up because of something, and it's easy to forget the ultimate goal there. But once you master it, just like we are here, once you actually get a tangible product, are you relieved? "Okay, we received it."
Albert Manero: I think in the past 18 months, our entire world has been struggling with this situation, the isolation brought by virtual work and now it is easy to reintegrate into the campus after returning to the office. I think that when we are all so isolated, we will miss those connection points and be able to pursue goals together-just like zooming a window. I know that we have all spent the days with only Zoom. I think we now have the opportunity to take advantage of what we learned from some of the time efficiency gained from virtual work, and now combine it with that kind of comradeship and shared experience.
Eventually we will become stronger. We have all encountered. In our laboratory, we have been discussing how to take the next step to continue to further design and develop creativity, instead of losing the best things learned from different connection methods, but being able to use it for further operation.
Alex Cumming: It's so cool. What do you say about the different contact methods? We just talked about how you let students from nine different universities come in. When you were looking at the design and the way to make the arm look, you said it. When you were about to go to art major students, did you reach out and say, "Do you think this design is good-looking? Is this good-looking, this good-looking? Is this aesthetically pleasing?" Does that happen?
Albert Manero: The arm designers in our project come from many different backgrounds. We start with a sketchbook model of what we think it will look like or subject. So in this case, we are studying one of the arms of dragon and mermaid scales, and how we--
Alex Cumming: I like it. I have fallen in love with it.
Albert Manero: How do we weave this creativity? Then how do you make it? So what technology can be done to make it come alive on a piece of plastic. When you see the moment that aesthetics jump out of the page, and then finally have to skip the plastic, it looks like it is more than just a prosthesis. I think that was the moment when students were proud of their design and watched it develop. Pencils and paper have been throughout the entire manufacturing process.
Alex Cumming: Well, UCF has yourself (including) some of the greatest engineers and some of the greatest art students. Like you said, this is so cool, there is such a rare overlap between the two—well, maybe it’s not rare, maybe rare is the wrong word—but it’s the special overlap of the two that makes it. Such an amazing work.
Albert Manero: And I think this can only come from places like UCF.
Alex Cumming: I like that. you are right. UCF is such a special place with such special talents.
So I also heard some amazing things about how the bionic arm you created allows children to play video games and learn the mechanics of their new arm. Can you talk about this and some other innovative work done by Limbitless?
Albert Manero: Early. We learned that there is a learning curve for children who use the bionic arm for the first time. We went to the School of Visual Art and Design, and then to Nicholson College, and discussed with their teachers about training and the aesthetics of arm design. One thing that resulted was the development of a video game training system in cooperation with multiple faculty and staff. Therefore, Professor Dombrowski and Professor Smith have been working on connecting your mobile phone with the same technology that our staff are using the bionic arm to be able to use the sensor with the game when you flex your muscles. We will do different things. In the App Store or (Google) Play Store, you can search for Limbitless Solutions, you can play the game by simply tapping the screen with your finger, or if you have that special controller and unlock other gesture controls. When you hide learning or repetitive learning in a video (game), it's a bit like stealing vegetables for children, in our opinion, it produces a better response. Unlike just putting on a prosthesis, your room is full of people watching you learn how to use it.
You may struggle the first time you pick up a rubber duck. No matter what is on the table, it is usually a Limbitless rubber duck. When you are practicing, if you feel all eyes looking at you, it can really be overwhelming. So I really try to emphasize that there is a low-stress environment to learn, and then be able to use art to really increase this experience.
This is where the teams from SVAD and the Academy of Sciences can really bring perspectives that we have never had before.
Alex Cumming: You mean, there is more overlap with the great people of UCF.
Albert Manero: Of course.
Alex Cumming: So how do you feel when you see people express their enthusiasm and interest through the arms you build? Especially the experience of Iron Man working with Robert Downey Jr., seeing someone use an arm you created to express their enthusiasm for the Iron Man brand.
Albert Manero: I think for all of our children, they can work with our team to complete the arm design and art cover. They are interchangeable, a bit like a magnetic locking system. This means they can change the design of their arms, from any clothes they wear in the morning to any time during the day. They can start from the true extreme of this expression. We can learn from the children's perspective and how their parents will talk about the arm.
We really learned that it's not just picking things up. It's about that kind of creativity and that way of expression, and being able to reconstruct dialogue from what happened to you, how did you get that bionic arm? How does it work? This is so cool. Only then did we know how a prosthesis is not only its function, it can really be a part of identity. As the child's identity grows, it can grow and develop with them.
Alex Cumming: I like what you just said about changing the conversation and identity. More seriously, I can imagine that many young people deal with these situations as they grow up, they can be seen, and this can become their full identity. In a derogatory way, young children can sometimes be very honest and savage, I don’t know if you noticed it, but-so it’s so special to restructure the dialogue like you said, and to do so at such a young age It can really affect these children for so long.
Albert Manero: I believe there is a lot of stigma in the perception of disability or accessibility needs, especially in the classroom, in the early stages of elementary and middle schools. And I think Arm has been able to find a way to challenge these conversations and restructure them in a way that focuses more on personalization and identity, rather than trying to fill in the gaps. We really believe in all the children who work with us. They are perfect without any accessibility technology. This is actually just a tool, it is an opportunity or a platform for them to express themselves in a way that surpasses the human body composition of ordinary prostheses or organic limbs that we think. We also saw some children walking with them — we partnered with the Halo video game franchise — and they were walking (wearing) on the playground (wearing) the Sergeant's Armor. I think that's when you really see how different it can be.
Alex Cumming: Do you foresee that one day, this day that might become a shame for having a prosthetic limb will disappear? When it's just, it is. There is no second glance. Do not hesitate because it is common and commonplace among individuals who need it. There is no second glance about it.
Albert Manero: We are really trying to make people can access any type of technology and select types of technology. And I think this will become more common as we start to improve on that side of things from that scale. But our goal for each family is, if the arm can support, whether it is used for two-handed tasks, so walk in the corridor with a drink and a sandwich, or be able to pull out the chair with two hands or hold a test while you are writing It’s really valuable to write a paper when If it is to build confidence in the classroom, make children like going to school, and be able to understand who they think they are, then this is a very important opportunity. If they come to a conclusion and their answer is that this is no longer suitable for me, then we think this is a great result, because with or without prostheses, they are absolutely capable of doing everything they want.
We just hope that prosthetics can make it easier, or change some of the narrative as they grow. This is our driving spirit behind the project.
Alex Cumming: I didn't even think about it. But when you realize that, I think there are many things behind this, when you realize that you will work on this project with Robert Downey Jr. In order to show the Iron Man prosthesis, how did that day feel for you? It's like you received an email, or someone likes to pat your shoulder and say, "Hey, received—"
Albert Manero: This is one of the most incredible experiences for our team. We are not 100% sure that it will happen. The Microsoft team rumbling or whispering, they are integrating one of these opportunities. One day, we received a call and someone said, "We will connect you to Robert." Then Robert spoke. He was passionate about this project and (it) was incredible. Being able to have the citation-dequoting bionics expert on hand makes that video so amazing.
Alex Pring: Everyone looks the same.
Robert Downey Jr: Actually, I think yours may be better than mine. What did you say? We uh, we all tried them on and make a progress report.
Alex Prin: Okay.
Bystander: Do you know who it is?
Alex Prin: Iron Man.
Onlooker: What is his name?
Alex Prin: Robert.
Robert Downey Jr: Oh my god, man, I'm cooler than I thought.
I have encountered a technical failure. Well, as you can see, my light is not on. Half the time, you know, when I designed one of them, it eventually crashed me. But what I did is I have been working hard, just like you are working hard with Albert.
Alex Pring: He has been working until he gets it right.
Robert Downey Jr: Yes, I think yours is still more correct than mine, because at least, you know—
Alex Spring: The lamp works.
Robert Downey Jr: Yes, your lamp is used.
Ah, that depends on that. This is a combination of robotics. Bang, it's done. love it.
Albert Manero: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
Robert Downey Jr: Albert made it so affordable. I may also start to hand over a lot of my technical work to Albert. I think he can bring down the price of my suit. I think, I don't know, it is about 1 billion and a half dollars now.
Albert Manero: It resonates with people because for us, this is one of our first arms with this level of aesthetic detail. We hope that people all over the world have different opinions on prostheses, and you can use the technology of schools and universities. You can use it to do things that can really change your community. And we can also reimagine how prostheses are designed, how their appearance is designed and their overall purpose, instead of trying to copy skin color and paint them red like Iron Man, and have that electromechanical appearance. Turn it into some arms we have worked with, whether it is a fashion model or a person with more styles, fashion aesthetics can turn to this, and now these types of designs can even be interchanged. This is a very wide range of brushes. I think this makes the design work very interesting, whether it is for our team or for the people watching the video, we hope to continue to challenge these expectations of design, and make people dream about what if we work together, the future will be wonderful.
Alex Cumming: Well, that video, as I said before, even before I came to UCF, I was familiar with the video and the story behind it, even before I fully realized its connection with UCF.
Do you find young people, when they see the power of engineers and what they can create when all these great ideas come together, to inspire the next generation of engineers? Like you said, the idea of Limbitless came from the radio. The future generation of engineers said that I saw a great YouTube video and clicked on it.
Albert Manero: We would love to hear the opinions of students who applied for the program, who grew up in these videos and learned about Limbitless's entry into UCF. We hope it will continue to inspire others, the next generation of innovators, to continue to improve our work. If they are in our plan, or bring this level of enthusiasm and creativity into any of their areas, to make the world more accessible, more inclusive, and able to make it more interesting.
Alex Cumming: You said you've grown up, it's not that long, right?
Albert Manero: This project has been going on for seven years.
Albert Manero: It's unbelievable. We don't know it will last so long and really become like a complete program. It was originally designed as a one-off project. But when we saw the impact and we started to hear the importance of this type of work from other families, everyone in our team looked at each other (and) we knew it was something we couldn't walk away. I think we have to continue to catch up with it and use everything we have.
Alex Cumming: I think, thank you for continuing to watch it, because it is beautiful. very beautiful. Is there a design that stands out in your mind? You would say, "Okay, this is cool. Okay, let's do it like an aesthetic building, or—"
Albert Manero: We have worked with several video game companies from Halo franchise, League of Legends, Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed. And grew up in the process of playing these video games, and then worked with some of their designers or different teams, and mastered an integral part of the game, but kept it in your hands-it’s a very Rare things. We like to be able to make these into reality. For me, I like to be able to see how the arm transforms from a more mechatronics point of view, that type of design to a more organic or avant-garde type of design. This is what we are trying to do, to create a full range of expressions where the arms can communicate. We are really good at architecture like mechatronics, such as Iron Man's arm and those types of designs. Then we can integrate more fashion styles. This is where we try to bring the entire circle to the forefront.
Alex Cumming: Isn’t it Cyberpunk 2077? I haven’t played it before, but isn’t the beauty of Keanu Reeves’s cool arm?
Albert Manero: That's right. It has this silver metallic feel, which is very industrial, and the feelings of steampunk and cyberpunk are blended together. It's great to be able to combine some technically challenging things together, working on the design side is really great. It replicates the content of the game, but the cyberpunk branch is the first branch where we really announced and launched (the) plan. (Among them) will grow and expand to support adults.
As we expected, maybe next year, we will carry out our first clinical trial for adults, especially veterans and first responders——
Alex Cumming: Great. In one of our previous interviews, we talked with UCF RESTORES, who worked with the Veterans Services Department, and they did such an excellent job. So I thought, once again, as we talked about, all these great knights are doing things together, but it's all for greater (good). I think there will be some cross references there. You said it was out of my own curiosity, but when we talked about the experience of Robert Downey Jr., you said that Microsoft, when Bill Gates came to UCF, did you have a similar experience of tapping your shoulders or e-mails? "Hey, Bill Gates is here. He wants to check."
Albert Manero: Our team really didn't know that Melinda and (Bill) Gates were going to the laboratory until shortly before they arrived.
This created-we kind of knew someone was coming, and we thought it might be like their executive director. Then when we were able to share and confirm it, we were very excited. But we really emphasize that our team treats everyone who comes in in the same way, whether it is a parent with a four-year-old child who wants to learn robotics and STEM, or Bill and Melinda. We were shocked by their level of participation. Melinda was able to really talk to our students and was able to listen to opinions from their interdisciplinary perspective. She and Bill, they helped build the entire landscape of the technology we use in order to be able to create what we are creating, so it's a little daunting in some ways. They asked a lot of very good and difficult questions about this technology. But (it) is just an opportunity to show how UCF's innovation is world-class. When we continue to pursue excellence, our goal is to continue to pursue and do our best.
If you do this, people will be interested and change their opinions. Ultimately this will lead to the ability to extend the program and really have the greatest impact.
Alex Cumming: Yes, I can imagine. That was the moment for the students who worked with you, and they said that in the long run, this is a moment that is closely related to them. They said, "Ten years ago, Bill and Melinda Gates came and they liked what we were doing", and I've been sticking to it ever since. You can't forget that kind of thing
Albert Manero: I think when you move towards excellence, ideally, someone will eventually hear it. This helps prove to someone that it is heading in the right direction. But for us, this is really about being able to pursue, being able to make the arms as creative and robust as possible to maximize opportunities for children. And those types-whether it's video or experience, can help us take the plan to a higher level. I believe that as part of UCF, all of us here have the opportunity to leave their mark. If we do it well, and we do it together, we will truly transform our community into a more inclusive and accessible place. And I think UCF is in a good position to achieve sustained growth and its impact. I am really happy to be here and participate.
Alex Cumming: In such an amazing era of UCF, when UCF is growing at such an amazing rate, the future seems, I want to use this sentence, it seems to be infinite. It looks like this great expansive, great student and great job. As far as the people you are talking about, as a drama student, I and my orchestra and the people who work with me, we do this, we really work hard in the classroom, every few weeks or so every month or Therefore, someone will play a supporting role in the movie. You would say, "Gosh, what are we doing here?" You can see. We are doing things, we are outside. It's not just us going around in circles. We are auditioning, we are getting roles, we are taking major steps. Sometimes it is easy to overlook this point in the tempering of all this.
Albert Manero: I think in the past 18 months, our entire world has experienced such a situation, where you put into work, you are going through routine, but the consequences of isolation and distance suffered by our world may cause It's hard to recognize it every day.
Sometimes you need those moments that make things change in order to see the trajectory and the future you are trying to pursue. You are on the right track. In order for our UCF students to return to the laboratory, there are 30 students in the fall semester and hope to have more in the spring of 22. We began to see these layers gradually disappear. I am very grateful for this, because as we start to become more comfortable, the world will heal a little bit, and this creativity will truly take a huge leap.
Alex Cumming: So I am curious, what continues to drive passion for work?
Albert Manero: For me, I think I can communicate a lot with the families of the children we work with. When you heard that the arm was still working after they brought it home, they had been at home for a while, this was the email that pushed me forward, well, it started. Then we did a lot of maintenance and troubleshooting because we learned a lot from the first clinical trial. Then I hope we can see these improvements and improvements in the next clinical trial, but we try to troubleshoot, "Well, how did this break?" What is this use case, such as in the classroom, on the playground? I think it has always been a challenge to make it better. And in order to do this more effectively, how to make it more creative and aesthetic can improve our technical level. The constant pursuit of excellence is very beneficial and very hardworking. When you find these types of opportunities, you must run with them because they are difficult to find. There you can see the final result, and then you can make it better, and then see the new final result. Maybe this is the engineer in my heart. I just like this kind of challenge
Alex Cumming: What has Limbitless done and continues to do? What are you most proud of?
Albert Manero: I remember the first time we let a group of children receive the bionic arm at UCF. It was a few years ago before the Ignite party, and they were able to talk to each other. The whole-there is no shame about physical differences, that is everyone's family. In that state of mind, watching how children become so comfortable. For me, what stands out is what the end result of what we do may be. Because it can provide that kind of comfort and shame, so that everyone can pursue their dreams, really run as fast as possible, or run as hard as they want. The arm is like a tool that can release some confidence. This has always been one of my guiding lights, where we want to take it.
Alex Cumming: Are you saying that nothing can stop your (supporting) life? With Limbitless arms, nothing can hinder me. I have the confidence and ability to continue pursuing my passion just like everyone else.
Albert Manero: You will see the children find that they have always had. It was a magical moment.
Alex Cumming: That's pretty, man.
So I want to ask you how other people support important work. And your team Limbitless Solutions. How can we support you?
Albert Manero: Well, if you want to learn more on social media, you can follow us at 3D Hope or Limbitless Solutions or Limbitless 3D.
Alex Cumming: Well, I hope we have expressed the engineers, I mean, they are the best, but again, the people who come in to work are very diverse, making Limbitless an amazing team.
What else do you want to do?
Albert Manero: So the bionic arm is the first vehicle we made. Then we did the second project, which we called the Xavier project. This is a method of using facial muscles to control a wheelchair. We conducted the first clinical trial for ALS patients at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, because ALS prevents you from using your hands to control the joystick well. We can make people bend. They are the temporal muscles above the facial muscles. Generally, whether it is spinal cord injury, quadriplegia, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, they are most likely to remain intact and truly participate. For some patients, this is the difference between being isolated or being able to drive through the room independently to find their spouse.
It was so touching to see how to use the technology in this way. It works in the same way as an arm, but only uses your facial muscles and more computer science programming aspects. But our goal is to enable the project to truly attract and support a large number of patients.
Ideally, Limbitless will continue to develop these new accessibility technology parts and really strive to do what you do well. Then try to add more. It's really easy. In my experience, I have done it too many times, and you are trying to do everything at once instead of layering it. So I understand that this is a growth point. If you talk to anyone on my team, they might laugh when they hear this. But I hope it gets better.
Alex Cumming: Well, I bet. I hope you have noticed that I have been at a loss because I was shocked by the amazing work you did.
So I'm going to hit you, "This is so cool. It's great." Just because I am mentally focused on this possibility and how (and) cool this university I love is, I am lucky to be one of them One member. What a great job this is.
So thank you. I will end with this question. What advice would you give to people who do what you want to do?
Albert Manero: Well done. I think from our point of view, find all the friends from different professions you have at UCF and catch them, because if you want to solve a real major challenge, you will need a different perspective from yours. I am absolutely 100% confident that UCF students are changing the world and they will help solve all these biggest problems in the world.
Alex Cumming: UCF students are the best. They are incredible. They motivate me because I hope they motivate you too. You can get along with them directly. So, absolutely, wow. Well, Albert, I can't thank you enough. You make me at a loss. So thank you very much for sharing this wonderful conversation with me. I am happy to hear more about Limbitless and the amazing work you have done. So thank you again. I'm very grateful.
Albert Manero: Thank you for inviting me.
Alex Cumming: Of course. my honor.
If you are inspired by the work done by Albert and his team at Limbitless Solutions, please consider donating to Limbitless-Solutions.org/donate to support their influential work — that is LIMBITLES S, Dash, Solutions.org Slash donation.
Believe it or not. This episode ends our first season of Knights do That. I have had an incredible time to share with you these wonderful stories of our faculty, students, and alumni. I can’t wait to continue with the second season, which we will launch in January. As always, Go Knights and Charge On.
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