Tag Archives: Hybrid Assistive Limb

HAL- Japan’s robotic outfit to help disabled

Japan’s Cyberdyne may share its name with the company responsible for nuclear destruction and the killer robots of the "Terminator" movie series, but the similarities end there.

And if the idea of a robot suit helping those with disabilities walk sounds like the stuff of science fiction, think again: the real-life Cyberdyne is in the business of revolutionising lives.

The firm produces an exoskeleton robot device called the Hybrid Assistive Limb, or HAL, which in another sci-fi related coincidence shares its name with the devious computer in Stanley Kubrick’s "2001: A Space Odyssey".

It gives power to its wearer by anticipating and supporting the user’s body movements using sensors monitoring electric signals sent from the brain to the muscles. Current options are for a single leg device or both legs.

HAL has many potential applications, from assisting caregivers lift people to helping construction workers or even firefighters.

In one case, three weeks of training with HAL enabled a man who had suffered brain injuries to stand on his own feet after nine years in a wheelchair, said Cyberdyne CEO Yoshiyuki Sankai, professor at the University of Tsukuba.

The group is now gearing up for mass-production and started leasing the battery-powered suit to welfare facilities last year.

"Developing robots without utilising them in society would just be an extension of a hobby," Sankai, 52, said. "What I develop should be part of society and benefit people."

A Japanese adventurer with disabilities is planning to leave his wheelchair behind and walk up a medieval French World Heritage site next year with the lower-limb HAL.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s robot suit to bring hope to the disabled.

HAL is Back! And Stronger than Ever!

No, no…not the computationally murderous compulsive HAL from that space adventure, but HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) Cybernetic Suit from Cyberdyne Corporation of Japan, in conjunction with Daiwa House. The companies have begun mass production of a cybernetic bodysuit that augments body movement and increases user strength by up to tenfold.

The HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) suit works by detecting faint bio-electrical signals using pads placed on specific areas of the body. The pads move the HAL suit accordingly.

Among the potential applications, Cyberdyne is emphasizing helping people with movement disabilities, augmenting strength for difficult industrial tasks, disaster rescue, and entertainment.

The HAL suit is not currently available. But according to Nikkei News, Daiwa and Cyberdyne are planning an annual production of 400 units and they should be marketed at approximately $4,200 US dollars.

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