Colleges & Campus News

UCF Alumnus to Speak to United Nations Monday

Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD of Limbitless Solutions will serve on a panel as part of International Day of Persons with Disabilities Monday.

By Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala |
December 1, 2018

Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD is the president of Limitless Solutions, a nonprofit started at UCF that makes 3D-printed bionic arms for children.

Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD, the president of UCF based Limitless Solutions will serve on a panel at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Monday, Dec. 3, as part of International Day of Persons with Disabilities events.

“This is an opportunity to share our work and our vision around accessibility technology that speaks to empowerment and expression for all.”

His scheduled co-panelists include: the director of Microsoft Cities, the founder of a New York-based nonprofit that explores, promotes, and presents radical new visions of the future through the integration of art and technology and a representative of the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The panel will be moderated by IBM’s former chief of accessibility. They will discuss Smart Inclusion as part of the UN’s day-long activities.

“I’m humbled to be part of this discussion at the UN,” Manero says. “This is an opportunity to share our work and our vision around accessibility technology that speaks to empowerment and expression for all. We aim to support children and adults through prosthetics that not only function, but also provide a means to express their unique personalities.”

About Limbitless Solutions

Manero, who co-founded the nonprofit at UCF with classmates while still a graduate student, will discuss how to better include people with disabilities as we look to build smart cities in the future.

Limbitless Solutions makes 3D-printed bionic arms for children at no cost to the families. The organization was launched as a self-driven student project in 2014. By building partnerships, it has grown over the years. Earlier this year, Limbitless announced it would conduct the first clinical trials of 3D-printed arms for children in the nation with its partner Oregon Health & Sciences University.

In the meantime, several of Limbitless’ founders have graduated including Manero, who has a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering. Three of the original founders continue to work at Limbitless in hopes of one day ensuring that any child on the globe who wants an arm can have access to one without money standing in the way.

Limbitless’s Albert Manero met with Daniela Bas, Director of United Nation’s Division For Inclusive Social Development last month.

About the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The UN has been hosting events for International Day of Persons with Disabilities every year since 1992. This year’s theme is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”

According to the UN, the “theme focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The 2030 agenda, adopted in September 2015, has 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets that address three of UN’s major pillars: Development, Human Rights and Peace and Security.

The day will kick off with a keynote discussion about empowering people with disabilities delivered by the president of the general assembly.

“It’s amazing to see how the UN is advancing its ‘a transformational vision’ to build a brighter future for all,” Manero says. “That vision is one that Limbitless Solutions absolutely shares and we hope to be able to support a small piece of that effort.”

The UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) organizes the event, which is co-sponsored by: The Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Ecuador, Republic of Korea, Brazil, Bulgaria, Italy, Philippines, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, International Telecommunication Union, UN Women, and the UN Department of Management.

Connecting Through LinkedIn

So how did Limbitless and the UN connect? Through a LinkedIn message.

“It’s the funniest story,” Manero says. “I took a leap and reached out through LinkedIn. Back at home, people thought I was crazy. A week later I met their director in New York. We are so honored that Limbitless was invited to be part of such an important day.”