Vanderbilt Robot Arm Has Steam-Powered Prothetics

A radical hydrogen-peroxide-based power source gives Vanderbilt University's prosthetic limb its quickness and power.


(Vanderbilt Prosthetic Limb - steam-powered bionics)

The power source is not quite up to superhuman strength, like in the bionic arm of the Six Million Dollar Man, or even the Jedi-style quickness of Luke Skywalker's bionic hand replacement. (Real-life bionic limbs are in development; see Bionic Arm Uses Neuro-Engineering for more information.)

However, it offers a great advantage over current actuators for prosthetic limbs that would actually fit into a human-arm sized limb. The power unit provides about ten times as much power as other prosthetic limbs, according to Michael Goldfarm, professor of mechanical engineering at VU.

Goldfarb’s power source is about the size of a pencil and contains a special catalyst that causes hydrogen peroxide to burn. When this compound burns, it produces pure steam. The steam is used to open and close a series of valves. The valves are connected to the spring-loaded joints of the prosthesis by belts made of a special monofilament used in appliance handles and aircraft parts. A small sealed canister of hydrogen peroxide that easily fits in the upper arm can provide enough energy to power the device for 18 hours of normal activity.

The end result is a prosthetic limb that is both quick enough and strong enough to throw a ball, as well as many other such tasks. This device could be tested in humans as early as 2009, which will be good news for Iraq war veterans, who as a group have a greater need for prosthetics than veterans of previous wars. The prosthetic device will also give off steam as a byproduct of use, so it would be the first prosthetic device to actually "sweat" like a person's normal arm, with the right kind of plastic covering.


(Vanderbilt Robot Arm diagram)

This new design will bring science-fictional devices like bionic arms and exoskeletons into being sooner than expected.

Read more at Vanderbilt University.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/22/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.

EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...' - Jack Williamson, 1930.

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue." - Clifford Simak, 1961

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1963.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.'

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'

EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'

UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'

Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'

Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Don't you want to experience the 'feely' effects?

Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.'

InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.'

Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.