Max Seidel has always had a passion for engineering.

“Since I was really young, I always wanted to take apart things and put them back together, and I still am that way,” he said.

Max Seidel. (Special)

So it seemed only natural for him to enter Riverwood International Charter School’s Science Fair during his sophomore year. His project was a 3-D printed prosthetic arm that a wearer can move with electric impulses from their remaining muscles.

“It was basically an alternate way of giving people who don’t have the money to afford $50,000 prosthetic arms individual finger movement, which I achieved by making it 3-D printable and lowering the cost to around $500, which was a big thing for children, specifically,” he said.

Although it was his first science fair, Max impressed the judges and won first place. He then went on to a Fulton County fair. He recalls being overwhelmed with pride and excitement.

After the county fair, Max competed at the state level and won numerous awards, including “Best Biophysics Project” and “Intel Excellence in Computer Science.” He was also interviewed by Dr. Christopher Horvoka, a professor of prosthetics at Georgia Tech, and won an award from him for “Prosthetics and Orthotics Wearable Technology.” Additionally, Max’s prosthetic arm was shown at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville as part of a four-week exhibition.

He then went on to the International Science Fair, where he was able to meet teenagers around the globe with a passion for science, technology and engineering.

“It really enlightens you to learn that these people are all there for a goal,” he said. “The goal is advancing humanity, whether it be in the sciences, in engineering aspects, biology, biomedical, physics, chemistry, everything. No matter what politics say, people want to do good.”

He cites the people he met at the International Science Fair as his favorite part of the experience, and noticed the importance of their passion.

“It’s easier to teach someone the knowledge behind something. It’s not really easy to teach someone to have a passion,” he said.

He was also able to meet Nobel laureates and MacArthur fellows, and was inspired by the work they do to help others. “I’m more into helping other people because I’ve seen how you can do it through other people, how big of a deal it is,” he said.

Max always had a deep passion for helping others, and this passion was a large motivator in his project. “I want to help people to achieve things that previously they couldn’t,” he said.

Max now is working with his synagogue’s nonprofit organization to fund and create a prosthetic arm for a child in need.

Although it was a difficult process to teach himself how to create the arm, Max considers it well worth the effort. To learn how to build the project, he used a combination of YouTube videos and help from teachers, physical therapists and a Georgia Tech graduate student.

Max says he has two statements that he lives by. Number one, never let age get in the way of pursuing a passion, and number two, “It doesn’t matter what other people think of you.”

“In my philosophy,” he said, “weird people change the world.”

What’s Next?
Max will continue to compete in science fairs, and plans to pursue engineering as a career.

This article was reported and written by Sarah Kallis, a student at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.