Reclaiming Childhood Through Cutting-Edge Technology 

The moment Megan Lavelle saw the device, she knew it would change her daughter’s life. Lavelle is an energetic, unstoppable mom whose youngest daughter, Emma, was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC). At a Philadelphia conference for AMC families, Lavelle learned about the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), an assistive device made of hinged metal bars and resistance bands. It enables kids with underdeveloped arms to play, feed themselves and hug.

AMC is a non-progressive condition that causes stiff joints and very underdeveloped muscles. Emma was born with her legs folded up by her ears, her shoulders turned in. “She could only move her thumb,” says Lavelle. Doctors immediately performed surgery and casted Emma’s legs. The baby girl went home with parents determined to provide the best care.

A custom 3D-printed version of the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX) empowers little Emma to use her arms despite arthrogryposis.

This custom orthopedic device means Emma can feed herself, color and hug.

“To be a part of that little special moment for someone else, can’t help but tug at your heartstrings.”

Whitney Sample, research design engineer