Titan Arm Biceps Boosting Exoskeleton Scores $45K from Dyson
November 7, 2013 7:37 PM
comment(s) - last by
(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
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Wrist hand problem
11/14/2013 12:10:58 PM
I don't see it extending to the hand. The wrist and hand bones are fairly weak compared to the larger bones of your arm. So if i was lifting something heavier than I should, couldn't this damage my wrist or other non connected bones?
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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
5 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Pressure By Monique C. Bethell, Ph.D.
August 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
5 Healthy and Creative ways to add Fiber to your Diet By Monique C. Bethell, Ph.D.
August 18, 2016, 7:43 AM
Wearable Technology for Peanut Allergy Sufferers: By Monique Bethell Ph.D.
August 17, 2016, 6:40 AM
Diuretics: Helpful or Harmful?
August 2, 2016, 10:29 PM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Most Popular Articles
Say Goodbye to Data Plans - Sprint and T-Mobile offer Unlimited Data
August 22, 2016, 6:12 AM
2 NEW PlayStation 4 Models - Unveiling September 7th
August 23, 2016, 6:23 AM
Uber - Everyone's Autonomous Car Driver?
August 20, 2016, 6:01 AM
iPhones May Get Curved Screens Next Year
August 24, 2016, 6:45 AM
Lenovo vs. Asus vs. HP - Best Laptop Under $500.00
August 19, 2016, 4:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Coming Soon - Drones and Airports
Aug 24, 2016, 12:40 PM
SolarCity’s Gigafactory: A Milesone in Emerging Technology by Lily Emamian - 15 August 2016
Aug 15, 2016, 6:30 AM
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information