Robert Downey Jr. Goes Full Iron Man to Present a Special Bionic Arm to a Young Fan (VIDEO)
Iron Man, meet Iron Boy!
The Avengers star Robert Downey Jr. presented a 7-year-old boy with a special bionic arm. The best part? He greeted his young fan in full character as Iron Man hero Tony Stark.
Downey, 49, partnered with Limbitless Solutions, a volunteer engineering organization that produces 3D-printed arms, to gift superhero lover Alex Pring a new and improved prosthetic arm at no cost to his family.
Pring, who was born with a partially developed right arm, knew he was meeting with a bionics expert, but he had no idea it would be one of his favorite superhuman characters.
“Do you know who that is?” Limbitless Solutions founder Albert Manero asks Pring in the clip. “Iron Man!” the surprisingly composed Pring says with a smile, as the actor pumped his fists in the air.
Downey and Pring both proceed to open up silver boxes that contain shiny new prosthetics, inspired by the mechanical bodysuit from the Iron Man movies.
“Marvel actually approved what we were doing. We sent our design to them,” Manero tells PEOPLE, describing the one-of-a-kind limb as “Tony Stark-approved.”
“It’s actually kind of a blend between two different Iron Man suits that our designer – Evan Kuester – worked really hard on to bring it all to life,” he says.
In the clip, Pring plays around with his upgraded arm, testing out the movement and giving the superhero icon a first bump with his robo-hand.
“Actually, I think your [arm] might be better than mine,” Downey jokes in video.
Downey also posted behind-the-scenes shots from the visit on his Twitter account, writing, “Can t resist more pics from the #CollectiveProject. Special thx to Albert Manero, @MSOneNote, & @Marvel. #Limbitless.”
“Just seeing Alex’s face light up was priceless,” Manero tells PEOPLE of witnessing the encounter, which he hopes is the first of many to come for kids around the world.
This is not the first special limb that the University of Central Florida student has designed for Pring. In July, the Fulbright scholar used a 3D printer to create a prototype for a right arm for Pring when his family’s insurance refused to cover the cost of prosthetic limbs for kids because they said they need to be replaced too often. (Prices for prosthetics limbs are around $40,000 each.)
Manero was able to provide the original arm for $350 thanks to Microsoft’s The Collective Project, which features and helps fund projects by students who are making positive changes within their communities.
This is only the beginning for the Limbitless team, Manero tells PEOPLE: “We are building a lot of other arms that are inspired by different things to try and make kids smile.”
And movie-inspired arms are certainly spreading smiles for other children just like Pring. Last month, a 7-year-old from Georgia received a special arm aesthetically modeled after the armor worn by the Stormtroopers in Star Wars.