Skip to main content

Benjamin Choi

Benjamin Choi

2022 Davidson Fellow Laureate
$50,000 Scholarship

Age: 18
Hometown: McLean, VA

Engineering: “An Ultra-Low Cost, Mind-Controlled Transhumeral Prosthesis Operated via a Novel Artificial Intelligence-Driven Brainwave Interpretation Algorithm”

About Benjamin

My name is Ben Choi, and I’m an incoming first-year student at Harvard University. Beyond my pursuits in engineering, I’m an avid violinist, writer, trivia enthusiast, and DC sports fan. I recently graduated from the Potomac School in McLean, VA, where I served as Student Body President. Outside of school, I performed in five different orchestras, played on the national junior squash circuit, wrote for numerous literary journals, and competed on TV as the founder of Potomac’s It’s Academic team.

As a researcher, I’ve won more than 25 national and international awards. I’ve first authored numerous original papers, several of which are heading for the world’s top peer-reviewed publications. In addition, I’ve achieved top finishes in numerous international violin competitions; I was recently invited to perform a solo at Carnegie Hall. I’m also a professionally-published writer and literary author; my work has been recognized by the New York Times, Writer’s Digest, and numerous other organizations. I was recognized this past year as a Finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search and was honored by the White House as a 2022 United States Presidential Scholar.

Skip testimonial carousel

"Being named a Davidson Fellows Laureate means so much to me. It’s truly an honor to be recognized alongside such an inspiring group, and words cannot express my gratitude to all those who have supported me along the way."

Project Description

My project invented the world’s first ultra-low cost, mind controlled prosthetic arm. In doing so, I created a new industry-leading AI algorithm for noninvasive brainwave interpretation. My arm achieves superior performance to the best prosthetic limbs in the world today—and is more than 1500 times less expensive.

Deeper Dive

Some of the most urgent challenges in upper limb prosthetics include the lack of effective control systems, the high-risk brain surgery associated with mind-controlled limbs, and incredibly prohibitive costs. As a result, adoption rates remain low despite the significantly increased quality of life. To address these concerns, my project developed the world’s first ultra-low cost, noninvasive, transhumeral neuroprosthesis. The physical blueprints of the prosthesis itself are the product of more than 75 design iterations; with the help of funding and mentorship from PolySpectra, Inc., a laser-forged cyclic olefin resin-based polymer was employed to achieve maximum durability. To address the shortcomings of current noninvasive neural monitoring techniques, I worked alongside Dr. Ji Liu of Stony Brook University to leverage artificial intelligence (AI), creating a synthetic “brain” to decode biological neural hardware.

The process to generate the AI algorithm was guided by two underlying goals: (1) to improve overall system performance by combining discrete models using a prediction voting scheme, and (2) to favor model diversity within these new neural network ensembles, as opposed to individual model performance. The final model involves over 23,000 lines of handwritten code and seven completely novel sub-algorithms. It also employs a unique diversified hierarchical structure, far exceeding the performance of current, gold-standard AIs, and is entirely scalable. The final deep learning system behaves as a dynamic, fully-embedded algorithm, designed to tailor itself to the neural characteristics of its online operator.

My novel mind-controlled prosthesis outperformed the world’s most advanced invasive prosthetics, costing more than US$450,000, across industry-standard performance metrics—all despite a total manufacturing cost of just US$300. These promising results suggest the possibility for wide application as a compelling, accessible alternative to current prosthetics; this device has the potential to improve the lives of amputees across the globe.


If you could magically become fluent in any language, what would it be?

I’m torn between either Korean or JavaScript

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’d love to harness the power of AI to improve lives and create positive change.

What is your favorite tradition or holiday?

Spending time with family over the winter holidays

Click image to download high resolution files

In The News

McLean, Va. – The Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program has announced the 2022 scholarship winners. Among the honorees is 18-year-old Benjamin Choi of McLean. Choi won a $50,000 scholarship for his project, An Ultra-Low Cost, Mind-Controlled Transhumeral Prosthesis Operated via a Novel Artificial Intelligence-Driven Brainwave Interpretation Algorithm. He is one of only three students across the country to be recognized as a Davidson Fellows Laureate and one of only 21 scholarship winners in the 2022 Fellows class.

Download the full press release here