Easton LaChappelle was 14 years old when he designed and built his first robotic arm. Ten years later, he’s now the CEO of his own company, looking to upend the prosthetics industry.
Unlimited Tomorrow recently started taking orders for TrueLimb, its customized, 3D-printed robotic arm. TrueLimb candidates scan their limbs using a 3D-scanner at home with the help of a friend or family member. Traditionally, getting fit for a prosthetic requires working with a prosthetist, which can drive up the cost. A traditional device can cost up to $80,000. TrueLimb costs $8,000, largely because there’s no middleman involved.
In my interview with LaChappelle, he told me he founded Unlimited Tomorrow a few years after entering his device in the Colorado State Science Fair, when he noticed a young girl taking an interest in his invention.
“She was looking at the details more than really any other kid. And it caught my eye and I realized that she was missing her right arm and wearing a prosthesis.”
Just about one year later, then-President Barack Obama would ask for a handshake with one of LaChappelle’s inventions at the White House Science Fair.
See more of my interview with LaChappelle, and more about how TrueLimbs work, in the video above.
Unlimited Tomorrow is focused on robotic arms right now, but it’s exploring expanding into prosthetic legs and exoskeletons.