Steam Powered Robots in Your Future?

We've been harassing I-Wei at CrabFu Steamworks pretty regularly pestering him with questions about when he's going to get his act together and unveil a steam powered humanoid robot. Of course, we're just kidding and having a little fun with him. But, based on the latest news from Vanderbilt University a steam powered robot might not be as impractical as we thought.

It turns out that Michael Goldfarb, a professor at Vanderbilt, is leading a research and development project that has harnessed a miniature rocket motor to produce a consistent supply of steam to power a prosthetic arm.

"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."

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