Erik Finman, having already made headlines for being the youngest Bitcoin millionaire recently got on the front pages once more. He created a real-life functional version of Dr. Octopus iconic suit for a young Marvel fan who suffers from hypermobility symptoms.
The young man invested a $1,000 gift from his grandmother in Bitcoin when he was only 12 years old. He is now worth $3 million and is considered one of the most influential teenagers. He has had a number of ventures but none of them as exciting as making the functional Dr. Octopus suit for a 10-year-old comics fan, Aristou Meehan.
Aristou’s dad is friends with Finman. The young boy suffers from hypermobility syndrome and always believed that his own Dr. Octopus suit will make everything better. Meehan came up with a viable concept for the four mechanical arm prosthesis and Finman decided that it was worth a try when he got a look at it.
“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,’” Finman told Digital Trends. “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.”
A team of engineers was gathered by the young millionaire to start working on the suit. Building such a suit would normally cause tens of millions of dollars but the team built their own custom 3D printer and relied on 3D printing. The designing and manufacturing took only six months to produce an impressive result.
The Dr. Octopus suit features four flexible tentacles controlled via rear-mounted microcontrollers and powered by a total of 8 servo-motors. The motors are in turn powered by a 4-cell Lithium Motorcycle battery which is relatively small and makes the total weight of the suit 12.5 pounds, which can be managed easily.
“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,” Finman told All3dp.
“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.”
The suit is only a prototype and does not let him climb buildings just yet. It can lift lightweight objects, but it points to what the technology can be in the future. Finman believes that modifications can be made to make it even better. “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,” the young Bitcoin millionaire said.