3D Printing

Wunderkind Inventor Seeks Funding for 3D Printable Robotic Exoskeleton

The 3D printing industry is full of brilliant people who have used their minds to change the world in some pretty spectacular ways. But, even among all of them, there aren’t many out there like Easton LaChappelle. At the tender age of 14 he used legos, fishing wire, and scavenged electronic parts to create a working robotic hand. He even created an interface that allowed him to control the device with his mind. But it wasn’t until he met a 7-year-old girl with an $80,000 prosthetic arm, that she’d eventually outgrow, that Easton knew what he wanted to do with his robotic creation.

 Easton LaChappelle limb 3d printing

 Easton LaChappelle hand cadIt doesn’t take a genius to believe that $80,000 is an absurd price for a prosthetic arm, even one with mechanical components. LaChappelle decided that he would turn the arm that he created into an affordable prosthetic option. It wasn’t long before the self-taught robotics expert found his arm shaking hands with President Obama and telling his TED Talk audience about the need to encourage learning outside of traditional school environments. He even managed to get a job with NASA, working on an interface that would allow a robot in space to be controlled from within a spacecraft or even down on Earth.

LaChappelle, who has just turned 19, has since founded Unlimited Tomorrow to take what he learned from his arm and create an exoskeleton to help immobile people walk again. He’s also recently announced that he will be releasing all of the schematics and software for his robotic arm to the open source community to refine, customize, and share with the world. Not every 19 year old is willing to turn down the millions of dollars that he could have earned by selling his technology.

In the new Uproxx web-series, Luminaires, we get a closer look at the man LaChappelle grew into and the passion that drives him:

Beyond the exoskeleton, Unlimited Tomorrow has plans to continue to develop open sourced robotic arms, either to be used as prosthesis or as part of STEM curriculum. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of money in being altruistic, so LaChappelle and his new venture have turned to the Go Fund Me community to help expand their facility’s resources. He is trying to raise $10,000 to purchase new 3D printers, equipment to test prototypes, and manpower to help develop them.

Easton LaChappelle 3d printed prosthetic So far, LaChappelle is about a quarter of the way to his goal after only six days, but he still needs the help of the open source and 3D printing communities. You can give any amount that you can afford and the nature of crowdfunding means that no contribution is too small. You can find out more about his plans for the future on his Go Fund Me campaign, and learn more about his new company on the Unlimited Tomorrow website.