A team of young engineers from the University of Pennsylvania have won the James Dyson Award for inventing the Titan Arm, a robotic exoskeleton arm that increases the wearer’s strength by roughly 40 pounds.
The James Dyson Award is an annual competition for students held by eponymous inventor and innovator Sir James Dyson and aimed at encouraging and inspiring the next generation of engineers. Whilst the Titan Arm is not the world’s first exoskeleton technology, but the young team won admiration for using relatively simple and inexpensive manufacturing methods.
The team, made up of Elizabeth Beattie, Nick McGill, Nick Parrotta, and Niko Vladimirovm are the first American team to win the competition’s top prize since its inception 9 years ago. Whilst the Titan Arm is nowhere near ready to be made into a commercial product, the team hopes that it could be a useful tool for manual laborers or physiotherapy patients. Although many lower-body exoskeleton technologies are currently being developed, the young engineers found that devices for increasing upper-body strength were lacking.
According to team member Nick McGill, he and his fellow students intend to use the awarded prize money to continue developing the Titan Arm.