Meet Easton LaChappelle, a 17-year old high school student from Colorado. When Easton was only 14, he decided to build a robotic hand from LEGO, fishing line, and a few servos. His project won the teen 3rd prize at the Colorado Science Fair. It was there that he met a 7-year old girl that was born without an arm. During the conversation, LaChappelle learned that the girl’s prosthetic cost an astounding $80,000. Upon hearing this, he knew right away that he could build his own arm for much less.
So he began working with Solidworks, a 3D modeling program, and searched for ready-made parts on Thingiverse, an online repository of open source models. Luckily he had a friend with access to a 3D printer and was able to print incredibly detailed parts, which then turned into a fully articulated prosthetic arm that interfaces with the human brain. He says that altogether, the new arm sports “extreme strength, functionality, costs under $500, and weighs less than a human arm.” He did that all in his own bedroom. Impressive huh?
But the best part is how he decides to share his technology with the world. He is not just creating something that will benefit many, he’s giving everyone the ability to be their own engineer. Watch the video and be inspired!