A battery-powered, upper-body robotic arm that increases human strength just won the 2013 James Dyson Foundation Award. University of Pennsylvania engineering students created the arm and will receive $45,000 to advance their prototype.
Sure, we've seen amazing robotic arms before. Some connect directly to the brain while others are basically external machines that help injured patients regain strength.
Unlike these other existing robotic arms, this one is ergonomic, non-invasive, wireless, battery-powered and affordable. The student team at Penn created the robotic exoskeleton Titan Arm for physical rehabilitation and super-human strength on the go.
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When donned, the Titan Arm augments arm strength by about 40 pounds, according to the team that created it. While not quite Iron Man level, the added strength can accelerate rehab for patients with back injuries. It could mean being able to lift heavy objects for work despite having an arm injury or disability. And the arm could aid search and rescue operations. The prototype cost about $2,000 to make while similar robotic exoskeletons cost upwards of $100,000, the students pointed out.