TitanArm already took home silver in a competition for senior projects at the University of Pennsylvania, and now the team behind it is visiting Orlando to compete in the Intel-sponsored Cornell Cup for embedded design. We stopped by the showroom and snagged a few minutes with the crew to take a look at their creation: an 18-pound, untethered, self-powered exoskeleton arm constructed for less than $2,000.
To wield the contraption, users attach the cable-driven mechanical appendage to themselves with straps from a military-grade hiking backpack, and guide it with a thumbstick on a nunchuck-like controller. If a load needs to be held in place, the wearer can jab a button on the hand-held control to apply a brake. A Beagle Bone drives the logic for the setup, and it can stream data such as range of motion wirelessly to a computer. As for battery-life, they group says the upper-body suit has previously squeezed out over 24 hours of use without having to recharge.