Low cost robotic arm wins 2013 James Dyson Award

Titan Arm, a battery powered upper-body robotic arm designed to increase human strength, has won the 2013 James Dyson Award.

Created by a team of four mechanical engineering students from the University of Pennsylvania, the low cost device took just eight months to create. The students have been awarded £30,000 to fund further development and testing. As well as exploring how the arm can be tailor-fit using 3D printing techniques, they plan to use the money to embed sensors within the device so that muscle activity can be recorded. If successful, this could give people with severe injuries and even paralysis the ability to move their arms using thought alone. What's more, the Titan Arm team hopes to make the device commercially available for around £1,200 - a tenth of the price of existing models. Sir James Dyson said: "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." The two runners up, each of which will take home £10,000, were the Handie project from Japan, a low cost prosthetic hand with in-built myoelectric sensors that can read brain signals, and the Cortex cast from New Zealand, a 3D printed plastic cast that is recyclable, lightweight, waterproof and thin enough to fit under a shirt sleeve.