Community//

Easton LaChappelle of Unlimited Tomorrow: “Curiosity is a tool”

Curiosity is a tool. I constantly surround myself with challenges and opportunities to learn. Find the thing that sparks curiosity to the extent that you can’t stop learning or solving the problem. This speaks to surrounding yourself with your passions. I found an opportunity where I can simultaneously push technology to the max, create new […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Curiosity is a tool. I constantly surround myself with challenges and opportunities to learn. Find the thing that sparks curiosity to the extent that you can’t stop learning or solving the problem. This speaks to surrounding yourself with your passions. I found an opportunity where I can simultaneously push technology to the max, create new forms of technology, and directly impact someone’s life.


As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Easton LaChappelle the Founder and CEO of Unlimited Tomorrow in Rhinebeck, NY. He has spent the last six years creating cutting-edge prosthetic technology, innovative delivery mechanisms, and business models to create a scalable and affordable solution for all of those in need. By using new technologies such as 3D printing, 3D scanning, and AI, Unlimited Tomorrow creates a product that’s better, faster, and more affordable than anything on the market. The company has raised over 6 million dollars and has partnerships including Microsoft, HP, Arrow Electronics, and many others. Unlimited Tomorrow’s philosophy is to keep the user first and to create life-changing technology at an affordable price.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was the kid who took apart everything growing up. I loved to tinker and explore how things worked. Robotics always fascinated me, but seemed to require so much knowledge that I wouldn’t know where to start. Luckily, when I was 14 years old I had the idea to create a robotic hand for a science fair. This was the project that sparked my passion for robotics and turning ideas into reality. Every year, I would make a bigger, better robotic hand/arm that replicated the human anatomy. I purchased my first 3D printer for my 16th birthday from a Kickstarter project, and it changed the way I thought about creating. At the 2013 State Science Fair, when I was 17, I met a small girl who was born without her arm and was wearing a prosthesis. After seeing what she could do with it and talking to her parents, I found out her simple claw prosthesis had cost 80,000 dollars, and that she would soon outgrow it. This was such an impactful moment — it changed the way I looked at technology. Since that day, I’ve been on a mission to create advanced, affordable prosthetic devices for the world. Now, Unlimited Tomorrow headquarters is situated in Rhinebeck, NY with access to an educated workforce and business support programs, New York City’s tech scene, the Northeast’s biomedical circle and the business-friendly culture in Dutchess County.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

The story that comes to mind is showing my invention to President Obama during the 2013 White House Science Fair. For context, I grew up in Mancos, Colorado, which has a population of around 1,500. My high school had a graduating class of 23 kids. I never thought I would be invited to the White House, let alone see my invention shake hands with the President. This experience made me realize that what I was doing could be much bigger than making something cool in my bedroom.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?

Curiosity is a tool. I constantly surround myself with challenges and opportunities to learn. Find the thing that sparks curiosity to the extent that you can’t stop learning or solving the problem. This speaks to surrounding yourself with your passions. I found an opportunity where I can simultaneously push technology to the max, create new forms of technology, and directly impact someone’s life.

You never know if you don’t ask. This is so simple, but it’s what triggered some of our biggest partnerships, learnings, opportunities, connections, and much more.

Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?

We live in a world where 40,000,000 people have a limb difference or have lost a limb. 2,000,000 of those live in the United States. Imagine missing a limb, where the simplest of tasks such as walking, caring for yourself, caring for others, finding work, working, and psychological issues become an everyday challenge. By creating a solution purely based around the global and person challenges, we can start solving these challenges. This takes completely rethinking technology, creation processes, business models, distribution, and leveraging relationships and partnerships. Technology that is scalable, functional, affordable, and accessible is what is needed to make an impact on the 40,000,000 people worldwide.

How do you think this will change the world?

Functional and accessible prosthetic devices have an opportunity to help people around the world in many ways. It could be as simple as giving a child confidence when going to school to allowing someone to find and retain a job and care for their family.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?

We are creating advanced artificial limbs that merge man and machine. What comes to mind is the topic around transhumanism and enhancing our bodies beyond the biological tools we were given.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?

My tipping is the same moment that put me on my career path — meeting that 7-year-old girl at the science fair. My science fair project, which was a full 3D printed robotic arm, was more advanced than the 80,000 dollars device this girl had. This was my “aha” moment. Since that day, I’ve been motivated to not only create technology, but create the infrastructure and model to help everyone who is missing a limb worldwide.

What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?

Most people can’t afford a new prosthetic device at 30,000 dollars — 80,000 dollars. Children are especially in need of this technology, but due to their growth rate they need a new device every 12–14 months. Our technology is extremely functional due to advanced muscle sensors and individual finger motion. Each device is created to match the person’s exact size and skin tone. Historically, you’ve had to choose between functionality and aesthetics. The model of receiving our technology is completely remote and digital. A 3D scanner is sent directly to the person, a 3D scan is taken of their residual limb, and an incredible amount of data is captured in the process. After this, their device is generated, 3D printed, assembled, and sent directly to them. We are able to create this product for a price of 7,995 dollars and are working to make it even more affordable. All of this leads to adoption and change.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

The team is just as important as the idea. I started as a solopreneur, and then became an entrepreneur. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t have the right team and experts, this idea might fail.

Hire for tomorrow, not today. It’s easy to find staff for your immediate needs, but you need to hire for the long term.

You can’t do everything yourself. The power of relationship, partnership, and team is incredibly important. If you go into your business or project thinking you don’t need anyone else, you will compromise the results.

Have fun. So simple, but it’s a must. If you or your team isn’t having fun, you need to change that as soon as possible.

Constantly exercise the muscle of future thinking. This is a tough one, but the more you plan and visualize the future, the more likely it will happen. I am constantly doing that for my business, team, resources, and technology in general.

Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?

Work life balance.

Visualize the future.

Never stop learning and collecting feedback.

Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

There are very few opportunities to invest in a company that is pushing technology to the max with such a direct and meaningful impact on someone’s life. Unlimited Tomorrow is in the business of augmenting the human body and using technology to empower people. We embody that in every facet of our business. We like to say we are a business powered by people, for the people. Our goal is to democratize healthcare and create infrastructure to help people around the world. Currently, we’ve secured partnerships with HP, Microsoft, FedEx, Arrow, and many others to offset the resources needed to take on such a bold mission.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.facebook.com/unlimitedtomorrow/
https://www.instagram.com/unlimitedtomorrow/
https://www.youtube.com/unlimitedtomorrowinc
https://www.linkedin.com/company/10184613/admin/

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Anand Agarawala of Spatial: “Spatial’s mission is to empower anyone”

by David Liu
Wonder//

If You’re Convinced Your Future Will Have More Challenges Than Opportunities, Read This

by Joe Tankersley

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.