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Meet Morgan A Walti
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, May 15, 2008

Morgan is an 18 year old senior from liberty high school in Hillsboro OR and he's built a bio-mechanical (bionic) arm.

First take a close look at the picture and you'll see three things. Below the arm you'll see what look like Legos. Well, as a matter of fact, they are Legos. It is from a multiple of Lego models that Morgan finally was able to build a rather good representation of how the arm and wrist work.

Above that you see the working bionic arm he built using electromagnetic solenoids. And, to the right, you see a glove with various and sundry electrodes and wires protruding from it.

When asked what inspired his project, Morgan said, with a smile, reading too many Sci-Fi books.

Stock up parents.

Once he felt he had successfully built his Lego model to mimic arm and wrist movement, he had to design a metal skeletal frame that faithfully duplicated the proper proportions of the human arm. He said for quite some time his arm had measurement marks all over it as he built the components of his bionic arm to match is own.

Because his idea was to replace servo motors and hydraulic and pneumatic systems which had been used previously (and proved very cumbersome) with the electromagnetic solenoids as actuators (which generate substantial magnetic fields), his frame had to be constructed with aluminum and polymer components in order to minimize loss. He was also faced with developing solenoids that provide the best mechanical force to temperature ratio. What you see in the picture is the result.

What he found was that the frame was sufficient and functioned mechanically like a human arm. However, while the solenoids were able to move the fingers, the original solenoids for the wrist weren't powerful enough to move the wrist. More powerful solenoids were constructed and did move the wrist.

Remarkable stuff. Obviously, this is a work in progress and Walti says further work will include the construction of stronger, more versatile frame, the integration of stronger joints and the investigation of more powerful solenoids.

Imagine this sort of technology leading, at some point in the future, to smart prosthetics which can be fitted to our returning injured heroes.

And all from reading too many Sci-Fi books.

Full size pics here:

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Previous Comments to this Post 

the pictures are looking distorted.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Yeah, that’s because the original pics are huge and I’m downtown Atlanta using a computer in the press room with no photo editing software. I’ve added a tab at the bottom with the full size pics.
Written By: McQ
Great work.

Morgan should contact Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway. He has done some remarkable work for the DoD in the same field.
Written By: Arch
URL: http://

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