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 ")

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.

3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Designer skin for everyone!

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

 

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

Will A Steel Umbrella Stop Russia?
'Everyone was aware that the damned platform was wandering around in its own orbit...'

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...'

TIKAD Armed Drone Ready To Fight
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'

Bees Royal Jelly Helps Wounds Heal Faster
'An alien drug... used by an insect race.'

NASA Wants To Make Oxygen On Mars
'They plop down on the Red and if the dust is deep enough ... they burrow in...'

Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'

X2-VelociRoACH Cooperates To Launch Tiny Drones
Little robots cooperating can do big tasks. Eventually.

'Do Not Pay' Chatbots To Replace Law Firm Associates?
'I want my lawyer program.'

MULTI Model Of Star Trek Turbolift
Cool prototype video!

A Look Into The Future Of Spacecraft!
Ever wonder how you look when you enter a new part of a spacecraft?

An 'Ethical Black Box' For Robots?
Explored by science fiction authors.

Dadbot Digital Immortality
'A hardwired ROM cassette replicating a dead man's skills...'

Should We Permit Computers To Create Their Own Language?
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Breakthrough Starshot Sprites Yearn For Alpha Centauri
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon...'

Kino Project Roaming Personal Fashion Robots
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...'

Astronaut Exercise Video, Predicted By SF Writers
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses.'

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.