3D-Printed Robotic Arm Won 2013 Dyson Award

(Guardian) A battery-powered, 3D-printed robotic arm capable of augmenting a person’s lifting power by 18kg won the 2013 Dyson award. Designed and built at the University of Pennsylvania by four mechanical engineering students, the Titan Arm is an upper-body exoskeleton that can be used by people who lift heavy objects during work, as well as helping to rehabilitate people with back injuries.

“Titan Arm is obviously an ingenious design, but the team’s use of modern, rapid — and relatively inexpensive — manufacturing techniques makes the project even more compelling,” said Sir James Dyson, the billionaire founder of the bagless vacuum cleaner and founder of the annual awards run by the James Dyson Foundation, aimed at encouraging problem-solving inventions.

The team spent eight months creating the Titan Arm, producing its prototype for £1,200 — 1/50th of the cost of typical exoskeletons currently available — using computer-aided design, 3D printing and computer controlled machining.