EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

November 23, 2013

Westford teen creates prosthetic arm and hand

WESTFORD, Mass. (AP) — Shiva Nathan is a 15-year-old boy with one huge, global idea.

Inside his Westford home with his father, Nanda Nathan, at his side, he puts on an electroencephalogram, or EEG, headset reader and concentrates.

The device measures his brain waves, and through a computer program he designed, Shiva controls a prosthetic arm and hand, which he built himself, on the table beside him.

The teenager explains that when he is at total peace, concentrating fully, he has rigged the device so the arm waves. And as a side note, he says that for him, thinking of nothing is the perfect way to calm down and do the trick.

On a mission to help hundreds of thousands of amputees all over the world, Shiva took his passion for robotics to a whole new level last year when he developed this prosthetic that he can control with his mind.

With more design work and tweaks, he can modify the controls so his arm can do even more, including moving its wrist, wiggling its fingers and bending at the elbow.

But to take his creation one step further, Shiva says his goal is to make the technology available everywhere. He’s aiming to develop this “Arduino prosthetic” as an entire open-source project, with schematic designs anyone can download off the Internet so they can then make the product themselves with a few electronic parts available at many stores.

“I’m definitely looking to do this ... especially because these prosthetics can retail for hundreds of thousands of dollars, which basically renders them all but out of reach of many residents in Third World countries and even war veterans who just returned home and are working for minimum wage,” he says.

“In the U.S. alone, there are 185,000 amputations performed each year,” he adds, “so the necessity of this device becomes huge when you think about the implications.”

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