Tuesday, October 07, 2008

HAL is ready for the world: Japan's 'Cyberdyne' robot suit

AFP: Japan's 'Cyberdyne' robot suit ready for hospital: "A Japanese professor announced Tuesday he was introducing robot suits for paralysed people, helping them to walk again by detecting their next move and lifting their muscles.
'The time has come to introduce this technology to the world,' Yoshiyuki Sankai, a professor at Tsukuba University near Tokyo, announced at a news conference.
Sankai's company producing the robot suits is named Cyberdyne Inc., the same as the sci-fi office in the 'Terminator' films. But there is no risk of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character coming to blow it up.
'I believe technology becomes useful only when it works for people,' he said at Cyberdyne's new office. 'I refuse any possible military use of my robot suits.'
Cyberdyne will start leasing this week 500 units of the battery-powered robot suit to assist paralysed patients at hospitals and rehabilitation centres.
Sankai showed video footage of a man paralysed to the waist down standing and walking as he wore the robotic limbs.
The robot suits -- dubbed HAL, or 'Hybrid Assistive Limb' -- detect natural electrical currents that pass over the surface of the skin anticipating muscle movement."