Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) Robot Suit

A Robot Suit to Help the Disabled Walk, Climb, Lift Weights and more... Almost Giving You Ironman-Like Capabilities

Recently, a Japanese company presented a robotic suit, developed to help people who suffer from strike-induce paralysis or those who had spinal cord injuries. Cyberdyne Corporation called its latest invention HAL, which stands for Hybrid Assistive Limb. According to the company the suit was designed to "upgrade the existing physical capabilities of the human body".

The device weights 23 kilograms and includes robotic limbs along with a backpack that features the battery and computer system. Cyberdyne's latest invention is attached to the body and managed by thought. The technology works as follows: whenever an individual tries to make a move, the brain sends nerve signals to the muscles. The robotic suit then identifies these weak signals from the surface of the human skin with the help of a sensor that is attached on the wearer's skin. Then the signal is transmitted to HAL's power unit, signaling the unit to start moving in harmony with the limb of the wearer.

At the moment the latest invention from Cyberdyne can be hired for Y220,000 a month. The company claims that the device has various applications. For example it can help a person to perform every day tasks like walking, climbing up and down stairs and even lifting heavy objects. On a full charge the suit will function for about 5 hours. In addition, the wearer will not feel the heaviness of the suit due to the fact that HAL supports its own weight, Cyberdyne says. It is worth mentioning that a similar exoskeleton was developed by Honda. .

Cyberdyne's founder and CEO, Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai, initially developed the suit for mountain climbing. The company says that its latest invention can function in extremely cold conditions and at a height of 4,000 meters above sea level.

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