A 15-year-old has joined the long list of young inventors: he’s created a robotic arm that is controlled by the mind. The device was awarded a prize of 5,000 dollars at the most recent Mobile World Congress.
They say that the late Steve Jobs once said that “the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”. This celebrated quote serves as inspiration for all those young inventors and entrepreneurs who are trying to make their dreams reality, despite their young age.
This quote from Jobs summarises some of the most incredible work of these “miniature madmen” who have managed to change the world with their discoveries. Following in the footsteps of scientists like Blaise Pascal, Walter Lines or Louise Braille, there are still young inventors who are achieving amazing feats to revolutionise our society. This was also the example of Easton LaChappelle, a 17-year-old who used 3D printing to create a robotic prosthesis that is accessible to everyone.
This list of young inventors also includes Shiva Nathan, a 15-year-old who has built a robotic arm that is controlled by the mind. His device is actually a brain-computer interface. To build it, Nathan was helped by the company NeuroSky, the creator of a portable machine for doing electroencephalograms of the brain.
Thanks to this system, Nathan managed to compile the electrical activity of his brain on a computer or smartphone connected via Bluetooth. And although he initially thought of designing mind-controlled video games, he changed his mind. His new idea, building a robotic arm that moved with just the activity of the brain, could help thousands of people. But could he do it?
Nathan isn’t the only one who believed in the project. In the latest Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, his prototype was awarded a prize of 5,000 dollars. The teenager, who went from thinking of video games controlled by the mind to prostheses controlled by brain activity, has garnered the admiration of the technology sector.
And the thing is that Nathan’s device costs just 1,000 dollars. This is much lower than the current costs of the robotic prostheses currently available on the market, which can cost up to 40,000 dollars. The youth plans to use the award from the MWC 2014 to improve the design of the device so that it can be controlled by eye movements.
His dream, now a reality, is an example of how young inventors can change the world, as Steve Jobs himself predicted. The system developed by Nathan could help thousands of people who suffer the amputation of their upper limbs after an accident. The combination of robotics, neuroscience and engineering can now improve their daily lives.