By LIZ NEPORENT
Just like Luke Skywalker, 7-year-old Liam Porter of Augusta Georgia has been given a brand new arm.
Porter, who was born without the lower part of his left arm, 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 evil.
Porter used to have a traditional prosthesis but it was boring and clunky, John Peterson, the limb’s designer said. The boy thinks the new arm is not only “extremely awesome,” it’s lighter and easier to move. It has a clamp on it and a rail system to slide different attachments on and off. As he grows, the arm can be adjusted.
Porter’s space-age appendage was a arranged by E-nable, a global network of volunteers who 3D print mechanical hands and arms for kids in need then give them away for free.
Jon Schull, E-nable’s founder, is also a research scientist at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He said the group pairs each child with a “maker” who takes a basic prosthetic design 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. The price tag for a typical prosthetic arm is upwards of $9,000, Schull pointed out.
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.”