UPenn's TitanArm exoskeleton prototype makes light work of heavy lifting (video)

It's no wonder people are interested in exoskeletons. Not only do they tap into our lust for the technology of science fiction movies, but among other applications, can make a significant impact on the lives of those living with disabilities. While many offer leg support, a team from University of Pennsylvania recently took silver in an engineering competition for its TitanArm prototype, a powered upper-body exoskeleton that, as the picture above shows, allows you to out-rep anyone at the gym.

Designed to be lightweight and cheap to produce, the robotic bicep upgrade uses a (mostly) aluminum frame, battery-powered DC motor, cable drive system, racket braking and thumbstick controller for movement, with a BeagleBone board supervising the electronics that pull it all together. The group at UPenn imagines TitanArm could be employed as a lifting aid, but more importantly, in healthcare applications like increasing mobility or physical therapy -- sensors and other data from the exoskeleton could even allow docs to monitor patients remotely. More info on the project can be found at the source link, while a video below shows TitanArm in use and outlines the hardware that makes those heavy hammer curls a cinch.

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UPenn's TitanArm exoskeleton prototype makes light work of heavy lifting (video)