A powered robotic arm designed to boost human strength has won the 2013 James Dyson award.

The 'Titan' arm designed by four students at the University of Pennsylvania lets wearers lift up to 40lbs more than they are usually able.

The arm won the team the £30,000 prize, and was described as "ingenious" by Sir James Dyson.

Powered by a battery, the arm is designed to aid sufferers of back injuries and other illnesses, as well as enabling human workers to lift heavier objects.

It also has the potential to be cheaper than other models - the first prototype cost just £1,200 to make compared to current systems which can reach as much as £63,000.

Nick Parrotta of Titan Arm said:

"We wanted Titan Arm to be affordable, as exoskeletons are rarely covered by health insurance. This informed our design decisions and the materials we used. Most structural components are machined from inexpensive aluminium."

The organisers said in a press release:

"An astonishing 7.5 million working days have been lost due to musculoskletal disorders which are estimated to cost the economy £6bn annually. Titan arm hopes to be the bridge to make this technology affordable which could dramatically effect these statistics."

The runners-up this year were the "Handie", a new and low-cost prosthetic hand made with a 3D printer, and the "Cortex", a 3D-printed arm cast. Both ideas won £10,000 for their teams.

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  • Titan Arm (1st Place)

  • Titan Arm (1st Place)

  • Titan Arm (1st Place)

  • Cortex (Runner-Up)

  • Handie (Runner-Up)