Liam Porter of Augusta, Georgia has been given a brand new arm spiffier than Luke Skywalker.
The 7-year-old was born without part of his left arm. Porter was recently surprised with a prosthetic arm modeled after the Imperial Clone Troopers in Star Wars.
“Liam wants it made clear it is a Clone Trooper not a Storm Trooper arm,” said his mother Ryan Porter.
In the Star Wars movies, Clone Troopers are the good guys and Storm Troopers are part of the nemesis clan.
John Peterson, the limb’s designer, says that Porter’s old prosthesis was boring and in the way. Little Porter says that he thinks the new arm is not only “extremely awesome,” it’s lighter and easier to maneuver. The new arm has a clamp on it and a rail system so that Porter can slide different attachments on and off. The arm can be adjusted also as the child grows.
Porter’s high tech limb was made and given to him by E-nable, a worldwide network of volunteers who use 3D printers to make mechanical hands and arms to give away free to needy children.
E-nable’s founder, John Schull, is also a research scientist at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Schull says the group pairs each child with a “maker,” who takes a basic design for prosthetics and customizes it.
Peterson went above and beyond, Schull noted.
“I believe this is the first Clone Trooper arm we’ve done,” Schull said.
The arm took about three months to make and cost about $300, according to Peterson. Typically, prosthetic arms can cost upwards of $9,000, Schull said.
In its first year, E-nable has given away more than 700 arms and hands. Members of 501st Georgia Garrison, a group of people who dress up as Storm (and Clone) Troopers, presented Porter with his at a surprise ceremony held at a local movie theater.
“He was actually speechless, which for him is a rarity,” his mom said. “It’s amazing John donated his time and own money to make this happen, just to see the joy on my son’s face.”