The world’s youngest Bitcoin millionaire, Erik Finman, recently came into the spotlight when he created functional Dr. Octopus four arm prosthesis. He created this for a young Marvel fan who is suffering from hypermobility symptoms. Finman invested in cryptocurrency when he was only 12 years old and bought coins with $1000 which his grandmother gave him. He is now worth around $3 million and is considered among the most influential teenagers. He was also involved in many projects which include startups and collaboration with NASA but his most interesting venture is transforming 10 years old into a real-life version of Marvel villain Dr. Octopus suit using the prosthesis.
Aristou Meehan suffers from hypermobility syndrome and believed that if he had Dr. Octopus suit he will be able to do things much easier. Meehan came up with a concept for the four mechanical arms. “He came up with this idea — because he’s a huge comic book fan, a huge Spider-Man fan — of having his own Doctor Octopus suit. He said ‘that would solve my problems. I thought that was such a smart idea and sweet. For me, it would have been so great if someone had helped me at that age. So I felt like a kindred spirit in a lot of ways.”
Finman arranged a team of engineers and decided to make Dr. Octopus suit a reality. They used 3D printer and used their own custom printer. Designing and manufacturing took around six months and the results were really impressive. The prosthesis featured tentacles are controlled with rear-mounted microcontrollers and powered with a total of eight servo-motors. Each motor is powered by a 4-cell Lithium motorcycle battery which is small and makes the weight of the suit manageable.
Finman said, “The whole suit was designed from scratch, we didn’t want to use off-the-shelf components outside of the electronics because of the size and weight considerations, instead of using universal brackets and mounts we designed every piece to perform multiple functions, for example the tentacle base piece each hold both servos, the entire cable-drive system, are hinged at the base to allow the user to move more freely and contain a bunch of tabs and eyelets to run cables and wires through.”
He added, “One of the things is we wanted to be able to bend and have the arm have all these degrees of rotation and these bending points. So, we could’ve had 50 expensive, super-heavy motors, but that wouldn’t have worked out. So, what we did is we got all these coffee cups and we got these three very slim carbon fiber wires so that you can pull the cups to go in a certain way. And in the back, there is one motor for each arm, so four motors to control the position of the strings so that way it pulls it a certain way. So, it’s actually really clever how we were able to do that super cheap and super lightweight because that was one of the biggest problems.”
Currently, the Dr. Octopus suit is only a prototype which is capable of lifting lightweight objects. Eric Finman believes that with further refinements and modifications the suit will be able to lift heavy things like car and can also have many other applications in construction and medical industry. He said, “Right now, it’s like a concept car, but I’ve been talking with a lot of people who are interested in doing more with it.”