Exoskeleton technology, mech suits and robotic prosthetics are the way of the future, both for labourers and those suffering from various medical conditions. The problem with current technology, however, is the astronomical cost involved in getting them built. Thanks to the winning team of this year's James Dyson Awards, exoskeletons are finally becoming smarter and as cheap as $2000.
It's called Titan Arm, and it's a robotic exoskeleton which was developed using low-cost manufacturing and production techniques to cut the cost dramatically. It's worn by the user and augments their existing strength by an additional 18 kilograms. It's meant for use in occupational circumstances like those doing repetitive lifts, and for use in physical therapy.
The Titan Arm team consists of three students looking to solve the problem of high-cost robotic prosthetics.
The team used open source software to run the gadget, lowering the cost of the project by negating the need for their own bespoke platform.
The Titan Arm is built out of aluminium with several 3D printed parts, allowing the device to be light while retaining rigidity and lowering production cost.
The device is meant to be used to reduce workplace injuries like back strain, and can also be used to help victims of stroke and other injuries and disabilities to restore upper body functionality.
Ordinarily, you could expect a custom exeskeleton to cost upwards of $100,000, however the Titan Arm team have managed to build a product at a total cost of around $2000. They hope to use the prize money from the James Dyson Awards to improve their research and execution and have a product available for sale for under the $10,000 mark.
Congratulations to team Titan Arm!