Easton LaChapelle was just 14 when he made his first robotic hand. It was made from Legos and fishing wire and put together in his bedroom. His creation took home third place at the 2011 Colorado state science fair, but an encounter at that fair sparked an idea for Easton. He met a 7 year old girl with a prosthetic limb. He said, “[It had] one motion — open, close — and one sensor, and just this alone was $80,000.” This pricetag shocked Easton, and he vowed to invent a prosthetic for under $1,000. And he did just that.
Easton developed a prototype using 3D printing that costs just $350 to produce, and made the designs for it open source. He wants to work toward changing the world but recognized that one person alone can’t do that – it takes multiple people to make a difference, and by making his designs open source and letting other people benefit from his ideas, he’s expanding his reach and impacting more lives than he ever could have done on his own. He said, “Our hope is that all developments made from this project can go back into improving the lives of everyone who inspired our work.”
Check out his robotics start-up and watch this video for more about his story: