Print 64 comment(s) - last by Pavelyoung.. on Oct 30 at 5:49 PM

  (Source: Education & Technology)

The new HAL suit not only wins for being light and sporting a long battery life -- it also wins on power, almost doubling the strength of a healthy adult, and adding enough strength for a handicapped adult to walk.  (Source: Cyberdyne)

Tsukuba University postgraduate student Takeru Sakurai shows off how the suit could be used to help rescue Japanese dames.  (Source: AFP)

A climber shows off the legs-only version of the suit, and how he can use it to support the weight of a human passenger.  (Source: Cyberdyne)
No, it's not a bad science fiction movie nightmare; Cyberdyne and HAL are working together in real life to help paralyzed humans

One popular series at DailyTech took an exclusive look at building a real-life Iron Man and the technologies needed to deliver both exoskeleton enhanced strength, speed, and flight.  One conclusion of that series is that while impressive, modern exoskeleton technologies will need to advance greatly, before a superhero-like suit can be created.

Now new advances from Japan bring us a bit closer to that goal.  Cyberdyne, a company just outside of Tokyo, has developed and is marketing a new exoskeleton which brings a lot to the table.  The new device can help elderly and the disabled walk again.  Even partially paralyzed people can walk with the new device.  The suit's design was led by Tsukuba University engineering professor Yoshiyuki Sankai.

Japan, famous for its science fiction stories in which cybernetics technology has become so ubiquitous that man and machine become one, is perhaps an unsurprising home for such advances in exoskeleton research.  The new device, the “hybrid assistive limb,” HAL for short, attaches to the user's body at their thigh, waist, and calf.  Based on how much (if any) movement the person can provide to their leg, the robotic legs will fill in the remaining force necessary to move the legs in a normal, albeit a bit slow, walking motion. 

The device is remarkably light, considering its power, weighing in with battery at only 22 pounds.  The battery carries a 5 hour charge.  The exoskeleton's efficiency is enhanced by the fact that its architecture is self-supporting, so extra power does not need to be devoted to supporting itself, merely to turning the legs.

A person with normal strength would also get a boost from the suit.  Someone who could leg-press 250 pounds would now be able to life 450 pounds with the help of the suit.  The suit is making a splash thanks to a paralyzed Japanese quadriplegic, Seiji Uchida, who plans on climbing a Swiss peak by riding piggyback on an experienced climber that is wearing the suit to help him support the extra weight.

For now, only the Japanese get to enjoy this new device -- Cyberdyne has no plans currently announced to bring it to America.  In Japan you can rent one leg for $1,500 or two legs for $2,200.00 a month -- a bit pricey, certainly. Similar, less efficient devices are near to reaching the market in America.

Mech junkies will also be pleased to note that Cyberdyne has also designed a full body suit, the HAL-5 Type B, which includes arm support, allowing users to lift heavy objects.  The suit is currently unreleased and no pricing has been announced yet.

The full body suit is expected to weigh around 60 pounds, mostly self-supported (36 pound lower body, 34 pound upper body).  It can currently operate for just under 3 hours on a single charge.  Cyberdyne is suggesting it be used for "heavy labour support at factories, and rescue support at disaster sites, as well as in the entertainment field" as well as medical purposes.

Some have pondered at the curious naming of both the company and the robotic names.  In perhaps a humorous homage, the company shares the name with the sinister company in the Terminator movie franchise, which is responsible for unleashing Terminator robots on the world.  The device, HAL, also seems to pay homage to the malefic spaceship supercomputer featured in the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey.

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Holy Cow!
By Schrag4 on 10/27/2008 11:01:33 AM , Rating: 5
This thing will revolutionize the universe!!! I mean, look how that guy can carry a girl who weights less than 100 pounds! Truely amazing!

Oh, and with this thing now anybody with the assistance of a pole in each hand can give someone else a piggy-back ride!

RE: Holy Cow!
By Tsuwamono on 10/27/2008 11:32:46 AM , Rating: 5
lol Everything is relative. They are asian remember? 100 Lbs is a fat ass in China.

RE: Holy Cow!
By Operandi on 10/27/2008 11:59:17 AM , Rating: 5
Too bad this was in Japan, were the average height is roughly the same as it is here (US).

We (Americans) do have a majority hold on fat asses however.

RE: Holy Cow!
By quiksilvr on 10/27/2008 12:06:14 PM , Rating: 4
$50 says that in the U.S. they're going to make one that looks like this:

RE: Holy Cow!
By B3an on 10/27/08, Rating: 0
RE: Holy Cow!
By majorpain on 10/27/2008 12:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
pretty sure that soon we will have Unreal Tournament fights in real life :D GODLIKE!!!! btw, is there any possible use for this stuff for military endings? ...

RE: Holy Cow!
By choadenstein on 10/27/2008 1:48:28 PM , Rating: 4
by majorpain on October 27, 2008 at 12:21 PM

pretty sure that soon we will have Unreal Tournament fights in real life :D GODLIKE!!!! btw, is there any possible use for this stuff for military endings? ...

Nope, since it was developed in Japan, it will only be good for Happy Endings...

RE: Holy Cow!
By therealnickdanger on 10/28/2008 7:49:08 AM , Rating: 2
I dunno, have you played and J-RPGs? Ultimately, chances are that your girlfriend or best friend will die.

(I understand that's not the "happy ending" you're referring to.)

RE: Holy Cow!
By Samus on 10/28/2008 9:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
100 Lbs is a fat ass in China.

Aint that the truf. I'd say its super attractive...but unfortunately its because 95% of people there barely have enough money to eat well :(

RE: Holy Cow!
By teldar on 10/27/2008 6:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno. It may need TWO cup holders on top. Gotta have room for two cans of beer up there. How in the world could someone be expected to be able to survive with just ONE cup holder?

RE: Holy Cow!
By foolsgambit11 on 10/28/2008 1:22:18 PM , Rating: 4
Right. Because in Japan, they're calling it the Super-Happy Fun-Day Smile Suit.

RE: Holy Cow!
By PhoenixKnight on 10/27/2008 2:14:01 PM , Rating: 3
We (Americans) do have a majority hold on fat asses however.

We're #1! We're #1!

RE: Holy Cow!
By SiliconAddict on 10/28/2008 9:09:37 PM , Rating: 2
He says out of breath....*ducks*

RE: Holy Cow!
By Flunk on 10/27/2008 10:00:13 PM , Rating: 5
That's completely untrue, there is a big difference:

males usa 5'9"
females usa 5'4"

males japan 5'5"
females japan 5'0"

RE: Holy Cow!
By SlipDizzy on 10/27/2008 1:14:55 PM , Rating: 3
He's not carrying that girl.... HE'S FOLDING HER! This machine has the power to fold humans like laundry.

Sign me up for 2!

RE: Holy Cow!
By Alexvrb on 10/27/2008 7:50:03 PM , Rating: 3
Hah! But can it Fold@Home? While we're at it, I'm waiting for the "Can it run Crysis at max settings" or Soviet Russia posts. Something like "In Soviet Russia, suit wear you!"

RE: Holy Cow!
By DJMiggy on 10/28/2008 12:22:51 AM , Rating: 4
Are they mac compatible?

RE: Holy Cow!
By RDC on 10/28/2008 5:16:42 AM , Rating: 3
More to the point, does it come with an iPod dock?

RE: Holy Cow!
By Meinolf on 10/28/2008 10:23:03 AM , Rating: 3
At least put a strap a car on his back. Now that would be impressive. I am sure I could carry the girl my back too.

Great developments...
By Amiga500 on 10/27/2008 12:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine the difference this would make to rescue workers on earthquake (etc) sites.

Able to move large debris without resorting to awkward heavy machinery.

Unfortunately the military will undoubtedly be looking into it as a more efficient way of killing people.

RE: Great developments...
By bldckstark on 10/27/2008 12:22:58 PM , Rating: 3
The thing is, a lot of great things come from research into better ways to kill people. Take space flight for example. If we weren't trying to fly bombs all over the world we might not have made it to the moon.

And how about those really cool camoflage rifles at Wal-Mart? Okay, maybe not those.

RE: Great developments...
By StevoLincolnite on 10/27/2008 10:57:06 PM , Rating: 3
Cyberdyne... Datadyne... Anyone else see the resemblance? There going to take over the world!

RE: Great developments...
By monitorjbl on 10/28/2008 12:58:37 AM , Rating: 4
Joanna could stop them.

RE: Great developments...
By FoundationII on 10/27/2008 12:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
Unless I'm very much mistaking the military already tried to buy the suit, but Cyberdyne refused to sell it to them.

RE: Great developments...
By Pavelyoung on 10/30/2008 5:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
Thats why they developed their own version.

RE: Great developments...
By the goat on 10/27/2008 12:58:35 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately the military will undoubtedly be looking into it as a more efficient way of killing people.

So you want wars to be fought with more primitive weapons so as to prolong the killing and suffering?

If you actually thought about it for 2.2 seconds you would see that more efficient ways of killing people actually save lives in the long run. If the same war can be concluded in half the time then less people will starve or get sick or be refugees etc.

RE: Great developments...
By geddarkstorm on 10/27/2008 1:19:38 PM , Rating: 3
I had to only think about it for 2.159 seconds, what about you?

There's both good and bad to such advances. If it is easier to kill people en mass, which is what war is verses say a mafia hit, with less collateral damage, then there is less incentive (due to less of an outcry over said collateral damage) to not wipe out some band of pesky humans being a thorn in your world view's side; instead of reasoning with them or finding other peaceful solutions. Certainly, if killing reaches a certain level of efficiency, it'll be a lot easier to do that than seek diplomacy. So, while less collatoral damage is all well and good, the problem crops up with who has this ability and who are they labeling "pesky humans"? However, this is only a fundamental issue with human nature that will continue to be a problem no matter what level of technology we are using.

RE: Great developments...
By madoka on 10/27/2008 3:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, this is precisely what happened with the Eminian Union who was at war with the Vendikar for over 500 years. Their war is fought by computer simulations instead of real weapons, and the people calculated as casualties voluntarily report to disintigration chambers to die, but the planets' culture and infrastructure survive. Killing became so clean and simple that they had no incentive to stop their war. It was only after Capt. Kirk destroyed their simulation computers that. . .

Oh snap! I've confused reality with Star Trek again. . .

RE: Great developments...
By Noya on 10/27/2008 3:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine the difference this would make to rescue workers on earthquake (etc) sites. Able to move large debris without resorting to awkward heavy machinery.

I don't think so. Look at the demo pics, he's carrying a person on his arms or on his back.

I don't see bionic hands that would give the grip strength and wear resistance to lift large, heavy chunks of debris like concrete and steel.

RE: Great developments...
By DJMiggy on 10/28/2008 12:20:24 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine trying to lift something like that and it ripping off your hands. ouuuch!

RE: Great developments...
By MamiyaOtaru on 10/28/2008 6:39:56 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Say you fall over forward for whatever reason and stick your hands out to catch yourself. You'll be more likely to sprain or break a wrist having to catch your own weight plus the weight of the exoskeleton

RE: Great developments...
By nugundam93 on 10/28/2008 11:30:47 AM , Rating: 2
well they gotta start somewhere... :)

RE: Great developments...
By FITCamaro on 10/28/2008 7:18:27 AM , Rating: 1
No the military will be looking into it as a more efficient way of killing the bad guys while keeping our troops alive.

RE: Great developments...
By mars777 on 10/28/2008 11:02:46 PM , Rating: 3
Killing for peace is like having sex for virginity...

The real iron man
By vapore0n on 10/27/2008 1:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the US version

Its not battery powered, but it can at least do a lot more than carry a small female in the back.

RE: The real iron man
By Griswold on 10/27/2008 2:27:56 PM , Rating: 1
Yea great. Pull the plug and remove the safety line and the wearer is buried underneath this thing. Its kinda irrelevant what it may look like or how it may work in the future when the main culprit of these suits is (and will be for a while) the power supply. With that said, the HAL is more impressive because it looks almost ready for primetime in households while the sarcos suit is a mere concept prototype of something that will be a military application sometime in the future.

Not impressed.

RE: The real iron man
By RedStihl on 10/27/2008 5:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!

RE: The real iron man
By aquraishi on 10/28/2008 10:05:13 AM , Rating: 1
Tony had a Mac.

RE: The real iron man
By Fireshade on 10/29/2008 10:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'm wondering why the guy wears a helmet in the first place. What is he afraid of? Prototype going berzerk perhaps?

RE: The real iron man
By FoundationII on 10/27/2008 4:12:28 PM , Rating: 2
A big difference between those is that HAL doesn't have those hand clasps. The strength in the wearers hands isn't augmented. So while the HAL can augment someones strength tenfold, it still needs to be within the limits of the wearers forearm/gripping strength.

With those clasps on the other hand you can get the full potential of the exoskeleton. Conveniently enough in that video the right clasps were always attached to the exoskeleton though. If you need fine motions with your hands you can't use that exoskeleton either (or at least not the arms).

By MrBlastman on 10/27/2008 11:06:29 AM , Rating: 2
The Clans will finally come forth an clense the freebirth blood with our elemental swarm!

You have been warned.

By MrBlastman on 10/27/2008 11:16:52 AM , Rating: 2
... but not before we perfect our neural-dictionary implant interface in our neurohelmets...

By darkhawk1980 on 10/27/2008 12:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
Oh how I miss the Mech game franchise.....if only Microsoft hadn't killed it when they did.

By nugundam93 on 10/28/2008 11:32:16 AM , Rating: 2
oh noes!!!!!!!1!uno!!!

it's the toads! they're coming!

Tempting Fate
By paydirt on 10/27/2008 10:48:01 AM , Rating: 5
Why must they tempt fate with their aggressive naming? :o

RE: Tempting Fate
By AlvinCool on 10/27/2008 10:53:55 AM , Rating: 2
Because they get free publicity by doing so? Actually it's great free advertising

By blueeyesm on 10/27/2008 11:17:53 AM , Rating: 2
... can he do the Funky Chicken in time with the music??

RE: But,..
By cokbun on 10/28/2008 4:33:04 AM , Rating: 2
No, but i bet he can do the robots.
& the robo boogie.....

RE: But,..
By foolsgambit11 on 10/28/2008 1:27:26 PM , Rating: 2
Finally - robotic beings rule the world.

Binary solo!
00000001 00000011 00000001 00001111!!!!!

By chmilz on 10/27/2008 11:24:44 AM , Rating: 5
I bet fat people are the first to buy these so they can drag their huge asses up the stairs. Already bad enough that I see fatties wheeling themselves around in power carts as if walking is so hard.
"Whee! I'm like, not fat!"


...a bit obvious, but...
By Motoman on 10/27/2008 12:15:20 PM , Rating: 5
Old guy in suit: "I wanna go upstairs!"
HAL: "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that."

Math Check
By derwin on 10/27/2008 4:24:50 PM , Rating: 4
The full body suit is expected to weigh around 60 pounds, mostly self-supported (36 pound lower body, 34 pound upper body).

36+34 = 70

By g35fan on 10/28/2008 3:17:28 AM , Rating: 2
somewhat scared for the future of humans. Very soon we'll have tiny robots in our bodies monitoring our health. After that we'll have artificial implants for heightened senses/strength and longer lives. After that some kind of meld where cyber and physical minds are the same. Then the ethical question of do we want to die or not?

I guess it's a good thing that no "true" advances will take place until religion is found to be just plain ole' silly and every human on the planet is the same skin color resulting in unity and advancement.

RE: impressive
By FaceMaster on 10/28/2008 10:23:49 AM , Rating: 2
Then the ethical question of do we want to die or not?

When you've got tiny robots inside you and massively powerful nano augmented arms, why would anybody want to die?!

External Adapter
By bribud on 10/27/2008 11:57:05 AM , Rating: 3
And here at first glance I thought the Nintendo Wii was going to get yet another external adapter for their system...

By WoWCow on 10/27/2008 12:05:21 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone know when the US will adopt the t-51b power armor?

Defective Link
By teko on 10/27/2008 12:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
The last link in the article needs to be fixed, it's missing the "http://" part.

The Robot
By HopeVolume2 on 10/27/2008 7:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
This brings a whole new meaning to doing the robot.

By GlassHouse69 on 10/27/2008 7:26:13 PM , Rating: 2
fuck that guy's haircut.

By Hardin on 10/27/2008 10:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm I'm not so sure about this. Cyberdyne and HAL? It's some kind of sick joke. Besides that guy is staring at me, I think he wants me.

By AstroCreep on 10/27/2008 11:20:06 PM , Rating: 2, let me get this straight: there is a real company named Cyberdyne?


Bah, it's been done before..
By cokbun on 10/28/2008 5:07:36 AM , Rating: 2
next version maybe
By Silver2k7 on 10/29/2008 3:14:43 AM , Rating: 2
now how do we make it 5-10x stronger ?

i realize it's a prototype or first version.. but for the price of that thing (whatever it will cost) having just double strength don't seem to cut it..

By FaceMaster on 10/28/2008 10:21:03 AM , Rating: 1

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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