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Technology

Colorado Teen Designs Robotic Arm With 3D Printing 68

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-science-project-ever dept.
coolnumbr12 writes "A Colorado teenager has used 3D printing to create a robotic prosthetic arm that is fully functional and costs less than $500 to make. At TedxMileHigh in Denver, Colo., 17-year-old Easton LaChappelle demonstrated his robotic arm, and how he constructed the arm to keep costs low. 'So in the end, I built this robotic arm up to the shoulder which was extremely strong,' LaChapelle said. 'It could toss balls to you, it could shake your hand, it could pretty much do anything a human could if you program it correctly.'"
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Colorado Teen Designs Robotic Arm With 3D Printing

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  • by advocate_one (662832) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @09:52AM (#44600181)
    with all kinds of regulations and safety cases that have to be complied with... things they can cope with because they're so large, but little upstart companies can't afford to comply with...
    • The "big boys" still have to compete with each other. No doubt they will use the same techniques that this teen has been using because it's cheaper. The problem everyone faces is excessive government regulations, certification, and insurance. Essentially, it's your own government that's robbing these wounded veterans blind. That, and the lawyers.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @12:48PM (#44601169) Journal

      with all kinds of regulations and safety cases that have to be complied with... things they can cope with because they're so large, but little upstart companies can't afford to comply with...

      You have no idea WTF you're talking about.
      Generic "zomg too much regulation comments" almost always get upmodded and are almost always full of shit.
      Prostheses are more or less exempt from any FDA regulation that would make them expensive.

      http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=890.3420 [fda.gov]

      Sec. 890.3420 External limb prosthetic component.

      (b)Classification. Class I (general controls). The device is exempt from the premarket notification procedures in subpart E of part 807 of this chapter, subject to the limitations in 890.9. The device is also exempt from the current good manufacturing practice requirements of the quality system regulation in part 820 of this chapter, with the exception of 820.180, regarding general requirements concerning records and 820.198, regarding complaint files.

      http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=890.9 [fda.gov]

      Sec. 890.9 Limitations of exemptions from section 510(k) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act).

      The exemption from the requirement of premarket notification (section 510(k) of the act) for a generic type of class I or II device is only to the extent that the device has existing or reasonably foreseeable characteristics of commercially distributed devices within that generic type or, in the case of in vitro diagnostic devices, only to the extent that misdiagnosis as a result of using the device would not be associated with high morbidity or mortality. [...]

      [A list of reasons when your product is not exempt]

      There's someone, somewhere, who had to spend money for the FDA to approve the first brain--computer--limb interface, but after that, everyone gets a free ride.

      • Really? After listening to his speech I heard him say he's working for NASA. On a Robot for NASA. Cool gig. In a small town, everybody knows everybody and what they've done; think "Public Access to NSA records, with appended editorials."

        I feel compeled to ask, "What is the statis on the Walker, for his friend?"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There's the problem, making something that looks like a prosthetic arm is the easy part. Programming it to make it work, as well as ensuring that it is durable enough for an arm is the remaining 90% of the work he has to do.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I know exactly how this 17 year old is going to program this arm.

      Let's just say, it'll only move up and down.

      • by TWX (665546)
        Just as long as he doesn't load the wrong program so that it thinks it's holding a screwdriver and is about to begin twisting...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2013 @11:42AM (#44600769)

      If anyone watched the video, he talks about how want to control it wirelessly. Also shows the robotic arm, even on stage.

      But he doesn't attempt to show how it moves or is controlled what would be what everybody is expecting to see.

    • by EdZ (755139)
      Yes. And additionally, he's looking to use a paltry 10-channel EEG to do it. That may be enough for someone with good (and conscious) concentration to move one axis back and wards, and maybe even switch between axes. But moving the arm unconsciously and naturally? No way. Not even close. For that, you need some sort of nerve reinnervation, direct patch-clamping of the motor neurons, or an intercranial BMI (Brain Machine Interface) right in the motor cortex. Or you could sit inside a noninvasive MEG (Magneto
    • by mysidia (191772)

      There's the problem, making something that looks like a prosthetic arm is the easy part. Programming it to make it work, as well as ensuring that it is durable enough for an arm is the remaining 90% of the work he has to do.

      3D Printer: $1000
      CAD Setup for designing the models: $2995
      Plastic filament: $100
      Servo mechanism and electronics for arm: $150

      Licensing of the software required to make the arm do what it's supposed to do: Priceless.

  • Not a gun (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oligonicella (659917) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @09:57AM (#44600227)
    Glad to see /. can find better articles on 3D printing.
  • hospital change master price $20,000 + other fees but if you are in market and have a plan it's only $1000 all in.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @10:11AM (#44600293) Homepage

    Every time I hear someone say that artists won't create without being paid. That's a lie. It's the publishers who want to be paid. Artists just want to create and not die of starvation but artists don't need to be paid -- they can get jobs too.

    This guy is an artist. A brilliant artist, but an artist just the same. He doesn't just engineer things. He creates things.

    My heart will sink when I see some giant company snatch this guy up and the things he makes get marked back up to that $80,000 mark again.

    We see what's wrong with the world and "the system" (we say the system so we don't have to blame people directly right?) and we just go on without saying anything about it. I hope people start saying things. You don't have to do anything -- just say something. Say something to businesses out there. They might ignore you or me, but they won't ignore everyone -- they can't.

    Change the world. Just say something.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Ok, I'm going to have to yell bullshit on this. I know enough startup bands in my time in highschol and college and many dreamed of getting signed onto a record and making it big.

      The problem is always framing it in what the artist wants. Well, I'm sure my bricklayer/plumber/carpenter/electrician would love to get paid for the houses they built the rest of their lives, but they settle for a one time payment. We know what the artists want, they want as much for themselves as they can get while being able t

      • by erroneus (253617)

        So you are projecting your own sense and presumption of greed onto other people you don't know?

        Think about the fact that you're commenting in a thread about a kid with zero profit motive has created something better than prosthetics makers sell for tens fo thousands of dollars.

        No one needs to promote the arts. The arts are a natural human interest. The promotion part is about marketing -- making it a for-profit enteprise and we all know all too well that enterprise isn't about the artist, but about the ar

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          So you are projecting your own sense and presumption of greed onto other people you don't know?

          I know I'm not a special snowflake and certainly no one in my highschool, so I find it reasonable to extrapolate it out.

          You have clearly never been a creator before.

          Now who is projecting? :)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's the real question.

  • As commenters on the IB Times page have pointed out, the embedded video restarts when the page auto-refreshes. This ruins the viewing experience. I recommend watching the video directly on youtube [youtube.com].

  • by mark_reh (2015546) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @11:52AM (#44600833) Journal

    I'm so sick of the press' obsession with 3D printed guns. Almost as sick as I am of my fellow American's infantile obsession with things that go "bang!". Maybe fireworks should be legalized everywhere so that people can get their dose of "bang!" without having to resort to flinging bits of metal through the air at lethal velocities.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Maybe fireworks should be legalized everywhere so that people can get their dose of "bang!" without having to resort to flinging bits of metal through the air at lethal velocities.

      If modern fire management practices didn't boil down to "let's pretend that this will never, ever happen" then that might make sense. But instead of burning EVERYTHING regularly, we burn selective areas to try to make firebreaks, leading to massive buildup of combustibles. One thing the natives really had right in the American West was the yearly burning, which kept forests healthy without burning down by clearing the understory.

  • Did he design it with 3d printing or did he use 3d printing to create it?

    make up your mind

  • As an engineer I think this is a big step I have not seen before. With easy access to 3D cad and low price 3d printing hopefully the term design engineer will be a thing of the past. Normally this robot would have to be properly designed for injection molded and machined parts. With 3d printing all of those constraints go away. I would define my job as designing around the constraints of a particular manufacturing process. 3D printing has very little constraints and uses low energy. I think that is ca

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