Elderly or disabled people with mobility problems in Japan are now able to rent a robotic suit that will enable them to walk.
Agence France-Presse reports that a company called Cyberdyne is making the suit, which detects electrical signals through the skin, then relays them to mechanical braces that lift the user’s limbs for them.
The suits, which will first be leased to patients in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, are said to enable even paralyzed people to walk.
Several countries are interested in renting the suits, which are available for up to five years.
The HAL suit, or Hybrid Assistive Limb, weighs 24 pounds, although officials say the user won’t notice the robot’s weight.
The suit can help people carry loads of up to 100 pounds, making it a viable investment for construction companies.
HAL designer Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai of Tsukuba University told AFP: “I believe technology becomes useful only when it works for people. I refuse any possible military use of my robot suits.”
“Japan’s ‘Cyberdyne’ robot suit ready for hospital”
Agence France-Presse, October 8, 2008