Robotic Arm Built For $350 by 19 Year Old American
A 19 year old man in Colorado USA has designed and built a robotic arm that can be controlled with the mind and he did it all for $350. I’ve always thought having a robotic arm would be amazing, not just for the obvious reason, for people who have lost limbs it would be incredible to have functionality again from that area. They are expensive though, Easton LaChappelle knew this so now he freely showing everyone how to build it themselves.
The idea of build your own Prosthetic limbs its incredible especially in America where the cost of healthcare rules out most amputees form anything more than the hook prosthetic if that.
Easton LaChappelle started pretty young, creating a robotic hand that was controlled by a wireless glove. He used LEGO bricks to back the device, motors from toy airplanes, fishing line for the tendons, and electrical tubing for the fingers. The kids a modern day MacGyver and a genius to boot.
He says his inspiration for the hand came when he met a 7-year old girl who was born without her right arm. She had a prosthetic limb that cost $80,000 and so he began to work on a cheaper alternative.
He worked with MakerBot (a company that sells 3D printers), had access to its $1200 Thing-O-Matic 3D printer they guided LaChappelle on how to create a part suitable for 3D printing and then printed and posted his design back to him.
For his latest version, Mr. LaChappelle developed an EEG headset that reads 10 different channels of a human brain. So now his robotic arm and hand can be controlled by a person’s thoughts, which Mr. LaChappelle argues is a huge psychological benefit for users, this man hasn’t even been to university and has no engineering degree, yet he can do this.
This is probably nothing in comparison to DARPAS metal/ silicone robotic arm which uses nerve endings in the patients remaining arm to control it with almost full functionality, but until they are available to everyone this is a fantastic alternative.
On his company’s website, UnlimitedTomorrow.com, you could download the instructions, designs, and software he used, so you could build it too. The guide shows you how to build the hand, elbow and rotating joint. Instructions on how to build the shoulder will be released soon. I’m gonna take a stab at building one, just in case.