2013 International Winner: Titan Arm

US project Titan Arm is a one arm exoskeleton designed to help users lift heavy objects. The team of four young design engineers looked close to home for the inspiration for the project. In the US, 600,000 workers a year are affected by back problems, often caused by over exertion.  “Existing exoskeletons are bulky, expensive, invasive, and tethered. Our challenge was to build an exoskeletal system that was inexpensive, streamlined, and wireless” explains team member Elizabeth Beattie.  Composed of five structural members, four moveable joints, and an adjustable upper arm member, the exoskeleton is strapped on to the back and onto the user’s arm.  It uses a braking system to hold a static load.  And the motor is mounted in the backpack area of the device.  The elbow joint is driven by a cable system.

James Dyson Award

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2013 International runner-up: handie

Handie is a 3D printed prosthetic hand. It contains a myoelectric sensor which reads brain impulses to control movement. Embedding the myoelectric sensor was a challenge. It needed to be kept small but also able to connect to smartphones. By using a smartphone to compute the electrical impulses on the skin’s surface, costs are kept to a minimum.

All components of the hand are easily modified and reproduced using a 3D printer. The hand relies on just one motor that changes its trajectory depending on the shape of an object.

2013 International runner-up: cortex

A broken bone traditionally means weeks of wearing an itchy, cumbersome, uncomfortable plaster cast. Not waterproof – not practical. New Zealand student Jake Evill entered the James Dyson Award with his high tech alternative.

Cortex is a 3D printed cast system for fracture support. It is a strong yet lightweight, fully supportive neo cortex that makes use of 3D printing technologies. After 3D scanning the limb, an anatomically correct and tight fitting cast is generated, with localised support in relation to the point of fracture. Printed out of a strong recyclable plastic, it is waterproof and ventilated.