Robotic Arm Bested by High Schooler

March 9, 2005
Robotic Arm Bested by High Schooler

High school senior Panna Felsen arm wrestles an artificial arm built by a group of students at Virginia Tech (read more here). It's one of three arms she defeated on March 8 during an international competition organized by Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen, a senior researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

When he issued the challenge, Bar-Cohen wanted to jump-start research in electroactive polymers, also known as artificial muscles. He didn't expect to see the challenge fulfilled for at least a couple of decades. "Given the technology we had in 1999, I thought it would take at least 20 years before we could do it," said Bar-Cohen, who has been called the "Artificial Muscle Man."

One of the robotic arms lasted almost 30 seconds against the 17-year-old San Diego student. Bar-Cohen is hoping the technology will eventually be improved so the robotic arms will win the contest.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

More about artificial muscles at

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