Titan Arm exoskeleton gives regular humans a 40-pound power boost

Credit: Titan Arm

Muscle-less humans, rejoice: now otherworldly physical perfection is possible with a strength-augmenting exoskeleton created by the young minds of four engineering students. The Titan Arm is a robotic, Tony Stark-like invention that beat out countless James Dyson Award entries from around the world for its "ingenious design," according to the innovative vacuum-inventor himself.

The prototype Titan Arm was created using 3D-printed components, computer-controlled machinery and design software that amounted to an affordable $2,000 in material costs, which is 50 times less than comparable exoskeletons on the market. A rigid back brace, which is connected to the robotic, power-boosting arm, helps the wearer maintain posture and prevent all-too-common back-related injuries. The arm has the ability to give the wearer up to 40 pounds of lifting power, no body-building needed. Additional lifting power might also be possible with a custom tweak of the arm.

Augmented Lifting Power

Meant for use in both occupational lifting and physical therapy, the arm seeks to prevent the problems encountered with repetitive actions like lifting a heavy load repeatedly. Because we tend to get tired after lots of physical labor, our posture then suffers, and as a result, strain is put on areas where it doesn't belong, resulting in injury and sometimes permanent physical damage.

Rehabilitation from an upper body injury is made easier using the arm, which has built-in sensors to track movement and can be monitored by a physician during recovery. A second powered-joint could possibly be added as well, giving the wearer two points of actuation to help measure resistance information and aid in future rehabilitation research.

Since millions of people suffer from debilitating conditions, the creators hope their low-cost invention will have the potential to increase both productivity and physical ability, wherever they might need it. The battery-powered device lasts eight hours on a single charge and the $45,000 prize money will go towards further development and commercial realization of the Titan Arm.

James Dyson Award, via Wired

(Image credit: Philly)

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