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 ")

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

Will The FDA Approve This Antiaging Drug?
'So what we're looking for now is... an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug.' - James Blish, 1951.

EVE Artificial Womb For Lambs (For Now)
'In the crimson darkness, stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones...' - Aldous Huxley, 1932.

Bees Royal Jelly Helps Wounds Heal Faster
'An alien drug... used by an insect race.' - Clifford Simak, 1961.

 

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

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?

Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

Our GodBot, Who Art In Cyberspace
Vaal hungers! We must serve him.

easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Have a little faith, will you? They're working on it.

Meet Assist-e Honda's Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

Kalashnikov's One-Seater Hovercraft
Not for windy days.

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.