How many times have you wished you had an extra hand? Whether it’s juggling the kids, carrying heavy loads or just trying to do two things at once.
Well, it looks like science has come to the rescue. A team of innovative mechanical engineers from the University of Pennsylvania has just won a prestigious award for designing the Titan Arm. This battery-operated robotic arm increases arm strength and helps rehabilitate people with back injuries.
Worn as an exoskeleton, the Titan Arm can enhance arm strength to lift an extra eighteen kilos.
I know what you’re thinking, but no – it’s not a prop from Back to the Future. It’s a real invention and it’s set to change lives.
The Titan Arm has won the 2013 James Dyson Award – an international design award that encourages young engineers. And you guessed it, the award is named after James Dyson, British inventor and founder of the Dyson company – better known for vacuum cleaners and those very loud but totally efficient hand-dryers.
The team of winning designers received a $45,000 prize to fund further development, testing and, ultimately, commercialisation of the Titan Arm.
The University of Pennsylvania’s engineering department also received a further $16,000 to invest in rapid prototyping equipment.
The team of four engineers behind the Titan Arm took eight months to develop this impressive gadget. Amazingly, it only cost them $2000 to build the prototype – much less than similar products valued at more than $10,000.
They also developed the gadget using open source software, which means researchers from around the world can contribute to its future advancement.
It’s head-spinning stuff and just a taste of how technology combined with innovative thinking can help so many people.
The James Dyson Award website will be open in January 2014 for the 2014 awards so if you know anyone who might like to enter, spread the word. If you want to check out some other rather clever Dyson products, then have a browse through our previous Dyson posts.