Entertainment & Arts

Robert Downey Jr., as Iron Man’s Tony Stark, gifts little boy a bionic arm

“Iron Man” Robert Downey Jr. teamed with a real-life robotics expert to give a young boy the gift of a new limb, and it’s probably one of the most heart-warming things you’ll see all day.

Downey was assisted by Albert Manero, a University of Central Florida student who founded Limbitless Solutions, which builds and donates low-cost, 3D-printed bionic limbs to kids.

The duo, with the help of the Collective Project, set up a very important, no-nonsense meeting between “a leading bionics expert” from Stark Industries — yes, Stark Industries! — and 7-year-old Alex, who was born with a partly developed right arm. The little man was the recipient of Limbitless Solutions’ newest robotic arm built by Manero. Watch the adorable video above.

Alex met with Manero and Downey in a hotel room, where he was presented with his new arm as well as one belonging to Downey’s on-screen alter-ego “Iron Man.” But Alex was smart enough to recognize Downey as “Robert” rather than the genius-billionaire-philanthropist-playboy Tony Stark from the comic book-inspired films.


The guys tried on the arms for a test run, and Downey’s was the one that had a technical glitch.

“I think yours is still a little bit more right than mine,” Downey started, “because, at least, you know...”

“The lights work,” Alex chimed in.

Where’s an arc reactor when you need it, huh?


The father of three also gave Manero kudos in the video for making the technology “so affordable” and offered to farm out his own tech work to him too.

“Had the absolute privilege of presenting a brand-spanking new 3D-printed bionic Iron Man arm to Alex, the most dapper 7-year-old I’ve ever met,” Downey wrote, posting the exchange and video on Facebook on Thursday. “Special thanks to Albert Manero, OneNote, and #CollectiveProject for their work making artificial limbs like this more affordable for families with kids who want to show the playground how badass they are.”

This wasn’t the first time that 2014’s highest-paid movie actor used his celebrity for a good cause, though this summit seemed to go much better than one he had last summer, during which a young boy burst into tears when he came face-to-face with the actor instead of the real Iron Man in the flashy tech suit.

However, in April 2013, he also delighted a theater full of New York kids who’d volunteered for clean-up after superstorm Sandy. During the film’s premiere in London, the movie star also graciously gave a little boy a tour of Tony Stark’s fancy Audi.

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.

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