From a Science Fair, a 17-year old geek, Easton LaChapelle was inspired by a competitor who wore a prosthetic arm that unfortunately it needs to be replace to complement her body as she grew up. He used it as an inspiration and took his self-made robotic arm to a much higher level. From a robotic arm made of LEGO materials, his goal was to develop a fully functional prosthetic arm for a very affordable value.
LaChapelle was successful to create a prosthetic arm with the use of LEGO materials, fishing wire and surgical tubing. With the help of 3D printing technology, he made it into success offsetting the expensive costs of having a prosthetic arm.
A Teensy Arduino micro-controller was used along with an amplifier circuits and Bluetooth receivers. The basic movements that the prosthetic arm can execute reacts according to - muscle flexing and blinking the eyes, it's also equipped with an EEG headset that measures the brainwaves to control the arm movements.
Through the use of a 3D printer - PrintBot, a few parts were created except for the gears, motors and screws, which brought a total of $250 overall cost. Now your dream to have an affordable prosthetic arm is now reachable with the creation of LaChapelle's robotic prosthetic arm. Heineken recognized his creation and asked LaChapelle to produce about 5,000 pieces of his robotic arm for their bars to serve beers to their customers.
Well it seems that after utilizing the application of 3D printing technology to produce human organs through stem cell, creating prostheses with the help of 3D printers are now getting into the hype. But let's assume that these technology will be more useful as it is not only for those who will benefit using it, but also for the environment. Like the printing industry lately, an agreement to green their business particularly the printer manufacturing business was supported by the largest names in the printing industry. Complying to the agreement leads to manufacturing green printer consumables such as eco-friendly toner cartridges and ink cartridges, as well as going green in their production of equipments.
While the components being used and produce in 3D printing technology may possibly harm our environment, they should at least find a better way to create useful necessities and equipments without making any negative impacts that would affect the environment.