Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Bionic suit offers wearers super-strength

Filed under
Sci/Tech

A ROBOT suit has been developed that could help older people or those with disabilities to walk or lift heavy objects.

Dubbed HAL, or hybrid assistive limb, the latest versions of the suit will be unveiled this June at the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan, which opened last month. A commercial product is slated for release by the end of the year.

HAL is the result of 10 years' work by Yoshiyuki Sankai of the University of Tsukuba in Japan, and integrates mechanics, electronics, bionics and robotics in a new field known as cybernics. The most fully developed prototype, HAL 3, is a motor-driven metal "exoskeleton" that you strap onto your legs to power-assist leg movements. A backpack holds a computer with a wireless network connection, and the batteries are on a belt.

Two control systems interact to help the wearer stand, walk and climb stairs. A "bio-cybernic" system uses bioelectric sensors attached to the skin on the legs to monitor signals transmitted from the brain to the muscles. It can do this because when someone intends to stand or walk, the nerve signal to the muscles generates a detectable electric current on the skin's surface. These currents are picked up by the sensors and sent to the computer, which translates the nerve signals into signals of its own for controlling electric motors at the hips and knees of the exoskeleton. It takes a fraction of a second for the motors to respond accordingly, and in fact they respond fractionally faster to the original signal from the brain than the wearer's muscles do.

The first commercial suits are likely to cost between 1.5 and 2 million yen ($14,000 to $19,000).

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

More From Red Hat Summit

Android Leftovers

Ubuntu 16.10 Alpha 1 to Come Only in Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin & Lubuntu Flavors

In only two days from the moment of writing this article, we will be able to get a very early taste of the upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system, as the first Alpha build should be released, as planned, on June 30, 2016. Read more

Lenovo and Red Hat advance partnership with telco push

Two Triangle tech titans are teaming up to create cloud solutions for the changing telco space: Lenovo and Red Hat. It’s not their first collaboration, says Brian Connors, vice president of next generation IT and business development in Lenovo’s Research Triangle Park-based Data Center Group. Red Hat even invested in Lenovo’s RTP executive briefing center, where its technology is currently “displayed prominently as customers come in." Read more