When Benjamin Choi was in third grade, he saw a “60 Minutes” documentary about a mind-controlled prosthesis. Researchers implanted microscopic sensors in a patient’s motor cortex, allowing her to control a robotic arm solely with her thoughts. Choi was captivated by the concept, likening it to something out of a Star Wars movie.
“I was very, extremely amazed at the moment because this technology was so amazing,” he continues. “However, I was apprehensive that they would require this exceedingly risky open brain surgery.” They’re also rather costly, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Choi, a tenth grader from Virginia, found himself with a lot of free time when the pandemic arrived in 2020. He’d planned to spend his summer at a decommissioned plant researching aluminum fuels. The film he had watched years earlier had stuck with him, and he vowed to use his spare time to design a less obtrusive prosthetic leg.