Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lachappelle: “Technology will affect the lives positively” –

As other children had long since stopped playing with Lego was the Americans Easton Lachappelle still fascinated by the little plastic building blocks. Not to playing’s sake. Easton Lachappelle used the stones to build with them a robotic prosthetic arm. At the time he was 14 years old. One week ago today the 19-year-old sat in the Vienna Hofburg on Pioneers Festival, admiring the red fabric and the paneling on the wall. “It’s my first time in Europe,” he told


Hard to believe when you know that the young man Barack Obama already has shaken the hand, or actually his prosthetic arm Obama hand shook. He did an internship at NASA, waived scholarships several elite universities, and the military has been knocked for its technology with him.

But the 19-year-old is different. He lives today a 12,000-inhabitant city in Colorado and has the start-up Unlimited Tomorrow founded with friends who also come from his small town. Their goal: to develop robotic prosthetic arms, which are cheaper and work better than any previous – at a fraction of the price. Made possible by 3-D printer, with whom he formed the parts cost. Under $ 500 will cost a prosthesis. They either duplicated the movement of the other hand, or it is moved over brainwaves. “We are still waiting for the medical approval,” he says in an interview with the “Presse am Sonntag”. For a year would be considered, he hoped that it will be as much next year. The medical requirements are also the reason why he had made his developments as open source. “If such a thing is always about trust of users and company,” he says. And the disadvantages are low. A user can continue to develop the project for himself, but he could not simply sell so he says.

No competition. And Lachappelle want to take any chances, not only because is often sued in America, but because through his inventions and large pharmaceutical companies come into difficulties. “The prosthetic industry has not evolved since years. You can ask for $ 80,000 for a prosthesis, because there is no competition and they get their money from the insurance company. My goal is not to affect the company, but a better tool for people who need prostheses, to develop, “he says. And we want to use technology to influence the lives positively “

And you believe him.. Instead million by business angels gather, he and his four colleagues have (more work for the start-up is not) on the sale of shares waived. “This brings positive, but also many negative aspects with it,” he says. Their philosophy was to take what they need. In a crowdfunding campaign that were $ 10,000. He can already earn money with his invention. The prosthetic arms for men are only the small, the “commercial” part of his company.

Better control. Lach Appelles robotic arms, actually controlling these, can also be used for other devices. In the industrial sector Unlimited Tomorrow works with companies like Entminungsdiensten. “Instead of a joystick, the company can take advantage of our arm-controlled control system,” says LaChappelle. This would facilitate the handling immensely. In the long term, he says, he wanted his inventions to improve the lives of people in vulnerable situations. Be it in the water, in space or after a natural disaster.

After Lachappelle already also working on an exoskeleton that not only should allow paraplegics walk again, but can be strapped to each object. An easily operable robot so


(“Die Presse”, print edition, 06.07.2015)


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