Robotic Suits For Hire

You can rent almost anything these days, including, if you’re in Japan, a robotic suit. These high-tech suits are designed to help the elderly and disabled walk more easily.

The sleek, high-tech exoskeleton dubbed “Hybrid istive Limb”, or HAL was developed by a professor from the University of Tsukuba.

[Yoshiyuki Sankai, HAL Developer]:
“The robot suit HAL has been developed to ist human body movement by expanding the range or amplifying the strength.”

The suit, which a person straps on to his or her legs, is equipped with a computer, motors, and sensors that detect electric nerve signals that are transmitted from the brain when a person tries to move his or her legs.

When the sensors detect the nerve signals, the computer starts up the relevant motors to ist the person’s motions.

[Yuki Kojima, Demonstrator]:
“When I intend to move my left leg, this machine senses the body signal from my skin and pushes me up automatically.”

HAL is already available to clinics and rehabilitation centers. But Sankai realized that many people do not have access to these institutions that would buy his exoskeleton suit. His answer: Rent them on a monthly basis to individual users. He hopes to have the rental business up and running in the near future with fees from about 1,700 US dollars a month.

Sankai also envisages a broader use of his technology.

[Yoshiyuki Sankai, HAL Developer]:
“I expect this machine to be used not only for medical purposes, but also for heavy duty or rescue work as well as entertainment purposes.”

In the future, robots and robotics can have a large role to play in Japan, where one in five people are now 65 or over.

Duration : 0:1:47


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