You never know who’s going to change the world. At 19 years-old, Easton LaChappelle has accomplished more than most people dream of in a lifetime. Driven by a natural curiosity, the teenager from Mancos, Colorado is a Bobby Fischer-esque wunderkind of the robotics world. LaChappelle has been working with robotics since the age of 14 and now uses 3D printers to develop fully-functional prosthetic arms and hands that are much less expensive than state of the art prosthetics, which can cost upwards of $80,000. As a comparison, LaChappelle’s prosthetics — which use an EEG headband to measure brainwaves — cost less than $500 to produce thanks to the recently affordability of 3D printing.
The potential applications of this technology are a game-changer: Cheap, fully-functional prosthetics for soldiers wounded in battle or for those in the third world. It’s a revolutionary advancement.
LaChappelle’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. A few years ago, at 17, he was invited to the White House to demonstrate his prosthetic arm to President Barack Obama. He gives TED talks and continues to work closely on robotics projects with NASA, all while operating out of a custom-built robotics workshop in rural Colorado.
Did we mention he’s only 19? Yeah, only 19 and creating robotic limbs that can operate by reading human brain waves. Makes you wonder what you’ve accomplished with your life.
Easton LaChappelle is the subject of a new original documentary series by Woven Studios called Luminaries, presented by HP Spout. Showcasing the best and brightest millennial minds today, Luminaries is a behind-the-scenes look at those behind today’s cutting-edge breakthroughs in science and technology. Watch the first episode of Luminaries, featuring Easton LaChappelle, below.