Teen inventor uses 3D printing to revolutionize prosthetics

Meredith Kile | Al Jazeera America | September 8, 2013

"I'm hoping to give someone a functional prosthetic arm for under $1,000," LaChappelle declares. The self-taught teen began experimenting with robotic limbs in 2011, when he built his first hand out of Legos, fishing line and servo motors. Frustrated by the high cost of modern prosthetics, he then sought out to develop a more affordable option for amputees.

...he learned modeling software and gained access to a 3D printer, printing incredibly detailed parts and constructing a functional prosthetic arm that interfaces with the human brain--all in his bedroom. The innovation garnered him public notice for its low production cost, accessibility, and functionality, and the teen inventor even got to do his very own TED talk.

"I think a lot more people are taking notice of what he can do on a 3D printer and realize his vision of making a prosthetic arm at a very low cost," says Patrick LaChappelle, Easton’s father.

LaChapelle's accomplishments helped him land an internship at NASA, where he is working on the Robonaut project at the Johnson Space Center, a dream job for the self-taught lover of robotics.