Titan Arm Biceps Boosting Exoskeleton Scores $45K from Dyson
November 7, 2013 7:37 PM
(Source: James Dyson Foundation/MEAM Team)
Group is first American team to win the prize; product currently can lift 40 lb, inches towards market
Let me give you a hand with that... or how about an exoskeleton. That's more or less the premise behind TITAN Arm -- quite possibly
the coolest student project you've heard of
, designed by the "MEAM Team" at the
University of Pennsylvania
. Built using less than $2,000 USD worth of off-the-shelf parts, this senior design project not only scored its makers publicity and good grades, but a potential well of profits as well.
I. Rewarding Greatness
British inventor Sir James Dyson -- inventor of his company Dyson Ltd.'s iconic bagless vacuum cleaners -- for the last nine years has
given out a small annual cash prize
to the student design team he believes put forth the best invention. Until now not one American team had one, but the MEAM Team broke that dry spell,
scoring the accolade
and the $45,000 USD in cash that comes with it (plus $15,000 USD for their school).
The $45K payout goes to the five students who built the TITAN Arm -- Elizabeth Beattie, Nick McGill, Nick Parrotta, and Niko Vladimirovm. But the attention may prove even more valuable, as biotech suitors line up to market the invention.
The MEAM Team admits they received plenty of inspiration from past projects -- including
a pneumatic exoskeleton
's team at the
Tokyo University of Science
. That project has much promise, but some fear its pneumatic mechanism exerts to much force on joints for many medical applications; plus the pneumatics require a lot of backing power, which has been a barrier to making it wearable outside of the lab.
A number of other universities and commercial firms are also working exoskeletons. Among these are:
Center for Intelligent Mechatronics
/Parker Hannifin Corp.'s (
Argo Medical Technologies Ltd.
ReWalk Rehabilitation Suit
Honda Motor Comp., Ltd. (
robotic walking assistance device
Japanese manufacturer Cyberdyne
Raytheon Comp.'s (
(originally produced by Sarcos Inc. which Raytheon acquired)
Lockheed Martin Corp.'s (
But most of these researchers have focused on leg strength foremost, for walking applications. And they're almost all very expensive and have required years of engineering.
II. Lean Mean Development
By contrast the MEAM Team built an arm in just a few months, but managed to produce the device that's not only competitive power wise (it can boost lifting 40 pounds), but is battery powered, cheaper than nearly any commercial exoskeleton, and features a cable system similar to bicycle breaks that prevents sudden stopping, in turn preventing potential joint damage in users.
A team member shows off the awarding winning exosuit device.
magazine, Sir Dyson cheers the effort, stating:
We loved the way it had been executed. The previous versions of this thing were mounted on the necks and shoulders, or the lower back, but utilizing the whole back was a great step forward. We liked the fact that they’d actually made it work. And the fact that they know how to make it much cheaper than existing exoskeleton arms is really important. I gather this kind of thing isn’t usually covered by medical insurance.
Students naturally want to do projects that are worthy. And I mean that in a very positive way. The first three winners this year were all people trying to help other people. I think that’s a great characteristic of all student projects. They’re people who want to change the world and make the world a better place. Often they’re not thinking commercially. Which is great, because companies think commercially. Students don’t.
A video recap of the project can be found below:
For now the MEAM Team is not only staying independent, but they're actively continuing the development of the TITAN Arm, looking to produce a second generation prototype. The first generation had only one point of articulation -- the elbow joint. While more complex and potentially expensive, the team wants to add a second point of articulation. They did not say whether they would be looking to add another degree of freedom to the elbow joint (e.g. assisting carrying while moving the arm sideways), or adding a new joint such as a powered articulation point at the wrist or shoulder.
Either way, it's exciting to hear that the team is spending this well-earned reward on continuing the exosuit's development. The team says the extra point of articulation will allow them to measure the amount of force the user's own muscle are contributing, allowing them to track physical therapy progress.
It should be interesting to continue to follow what they come up with over the next couple years.
The James Dyson Foundation
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
Iron Man? Nope, New Lifting Aid is Called the "Titan Arm"
May 1, 2013, 8:53 PM
Japanese Hospitals Test Cyberborg Suits
February 11, 2013, 12:43 PM
Iron Man: New Robotic Exoskeleton Helps Paraplegics Walk
October 31, 2012, 3:30 PM
New Military Grade Exoskeleton Can Lift 200 lbs, March 12 Miles
October 26, 2010, 10:41 AM
HAL Mech Suit Hits Production, To Increase Human Strength Tenfold
April 10, 2009, 3:40 PM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Gigabit Are you looking for an Ultra Compact board?
February 22, 2017, 6:30 AM
Dell XPS 13 Touch – Rose Gold Edition
February 23, 2017, 7:29 AM
ASUS ROG Maximus IX - Among the Best of the Best
February 21, 2017, 7:50 AM
Comparison: Tag Heuer Connected Modular VS Samsung Gear S3
February 20, 2017, 7:20 AM
Xiaomi Mi Note 2 – This Chinese Phablet is the Best
February 24, 2017, 7:25 AM
Latest Blog Posts
How much Ram do you need for gaming?
Feb 27, 2017, 6:00 AM
Interesting News of the Day
Feb 25, 2017, 7:37 AM
AMD and More
Feb 24, 2017, 5:55 AM
Feb 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Feb 21, 2017, 6:12 AM
Here is how startups are helping new parents in raising children
Feb 20, 2017, 6:45 AM
Around the World
Feb 18, 2017, 5:48 AM
News of Future
Feb 17, 2017, 6:30 AM
Amazon parachutes May Float Packages to Customers
Feb 16, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you Can Watch Facebook on Your TV
Feb 15, 2017, 7:42 AM
Feb 14, 2017, 5:36 AM
Razer Blade Stealth – Little Kaby Lake Powerhouse
Feb 13, 2017, 7:50 AM
Android 7.0 Nougat 7.0 Update Bring Less Battery Life for Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge
Feb 12, 2017, 7:45 AM
Apple iPhone 8 – OLED Display & Wireless Charging
Feb 11, 2017, 8:09 AM
Feb 10, 2017, 6:15 AM
Feb 9, 2017, 6:00 AM
Eye catching news
Feb 8, 2017, 6:16 AM
Some World News
Feb 7, 2017, 6:15 AM
Feb 6, 2017, 10:11 AM
Feb 5, 2017, 7:27 AM
Notes and News
Feb 4, 2017, 5:53 AM
Feb 3, 2017, 5:30 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information