Teen Launches GoFundMe Campaign to 3D Print Prosthetic Arms You Can Control with Your Brain

Share this Article

Easton LaChappelle is a bit of a prodigy. At 19 years old, he’s already landed a job at NASA, and he’s part of a seismic shift in how technology is being used to change the world, but that’s hardly the entire story.

Easton LaChappelle

Easton LaChappelle

The project that’s brought LaChappelle into prominence involves a chance meeting he had with a little girl using a prosthetic limb that cost upwards of $80,000, and that got the young engineer and designer thinking. So he built her a prosthetic arm. For a fraction of that sum. For just $400, in fact.

While projects like RoboHand are driving down the cost of needed prosthetic devices, LaChappelle’s arm is an extremely sophisticated take on solving the problem. Over the course of three years and working with online resources and collaborators alongside 3D designer Chris Chappelle, the project ultimately took 2nd place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He and Chappelle launched a successful Kickstarter project for what they called the “Anthromod” robotic arm.

LaChappelle and President Obama

LaChappelle and President Obama

The first version was a wireless hand controlled by a glove which included “flex sensors” sewn into the glove. Custom PCB boards and a custom servo shield, along with a set of XBee modules for wireless communication, completed the device. The system uses a wireless, EEG-capable headset which senses 10 different channels of brainwaves to control the arm.

It’s considerably more functional than a traditional prosthesis – and stronger than a human hand. LaChappelle says the next generation of the arm was capable of sustaining 50 pounds of pressure on each individual finger.

“The strength of the hand is so great that it’s almost dangerous,” LaChappelle says of the device.

LaChappelle made his first robotic hand out of LEGOs, fishing wire, and electrical tubing when he was all of 14 years old, and it’s now, after considerable effort on his part, a 3D printed marvel capable of operating in conjunction with the user’s mind.

The prototype, a practical — and affordable — device, once shook hands with President Obama and led to the young man’s work at NASA as a team member on the Robonaut project.

He’s also founded his own company, Unlimited Tomorrow, Inc., and it’s dedicated to developing an exoskeleton to help paraplegics walk again. That device is now undergoing the patent process and seeking FDA approval.

But it’s the advanced, open-source robotic arms that are truly a marvel. They can be used as prosthesis or as a STEM learning tool, and the device is as disruptive as it gets. Now LaChappelle is seeking funds to expand the program and develop the product through a GoFundMe campaign.

“I am raising money to expand our resources which includes more 3D printers, material development, manpower, and testing equipment,” LaChappelle says. “This will all help contribute to getting this technology to the people who really need it.”

And it’s no small task.

As LaChappelle refines the designs, he’s also using bleeding edge tools like HP Sprout to help share his designs online. It’s an effort to introduce a wide range of people to engineering, and socially-conscious makers and business people like LaChappelle are on the forefront of that movement.

The wide adoption of 3D printing and 3D design technology has spurred innovation and interest in STEM education around the globe. Do you know of any other projects which have caused disruption to the way education and business are conducted? Let us know in the Teen 3D Prints a Prosthetic Arm forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Related Articles

Greece: Students 3D Print Operational Antikythera Mechanism

Interview with Len Wanger of Deer Valley Ventures



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Sponsored

Longer Orange 30 Affordable Resin LCD 3D Printer is Live on Kickstarter

Longer Orange 30 LCD Resin 3D printers are now available on Kickstarter. Super early birds can pledge for the printer at $199, while early birds can pledge for the printer...

3D Printing in Africa: Kenya & 3D Printing

Kenya has been considered to be a hub for innovation in Africa.  Personally, I started working with Kenya in 3D printing technology with a Makerbot Reseller, Amit Shah who runs...

Furthering STEM Education: Thesis Student 3D Prints Micro & Millifluidic Devices on a Desktop Machine

In ‘Use of stereolithographic 3D printing for fabrication of micro and millifluidic devices for undergraduate engineering studies,’ University of Tennessee at Chattanooga thesis student Cooper Thome explores the importance of...

3D Printing News Briefs: April 12, 2019

We’ve got news about a contest to start off today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, followed by some business news and 3D printed jewelry. Weerg has announced the second edition of...


Training


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!