HAL Mark 3 Prototype Battle Armor

Japan ready to market "robot suit"

Japanese companies are preparing for the commercial launch of a "robot suit" that helps aged or physically disabled people walk, get up the stairs or seat themselves to relax without a chair. Trading house Mitsui and Co. and some 30 other Tokyo firms plan to set up a joint-venture in April or May next year to market the powered suit developed by Yoshiyuki Sankai, professor and engineer at Tsukuba University. [...]

The powered suit, code-named HAL-3 (Hybrid Assistive Leg), consists of a computer and batteries in the backpack as well as four actuators attached around the knees and hip joints. The motor-powered devices guide movement of the legs as the computer calculates the user's next motion by detecting faint electric signals from the muscle, the professor said. With the equipment, the user can walk at a speed of four kilometres (2.5 miles) per hour with little physical exertion and avoid the jerky stop-go moves of ordinary robots. [...]

The new venture plans to lease or sell 10 prototypes next year, targetting hospitals and nursing-care facilities at home and abroad. A mid-term goal for the project is to sell some 100 suits a year at a price of one million yen (8,440 dollars).

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15 Responses:

  1. en_ki says:

    Huh. I thought for sure Yobotics was going to do it first.

  2. jes5199 says:

    I, for one, welcome our new Japanese cyborg masters.

  3. monkey says:

    I think sysadmins need this for "assisted" asskickings of end-lusers.

  4. 1eyedkunt says:

    not quite as exciting, but still pretty neat and a little more immediately viable: gyro-balanced stair-climbing wheelchair

  5. selectronica says:

    This is actually really cool, I had heard of other options but not this. I'm just not so sure if I were incapacitated I would want my assistant on whom I depended to be called HAL.

    "The [HAL-3] series is the most reliable [robot suit] ever made. We are, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error."

    And we all know how well that turned out.

    I think I would have named it Fluffy.

  6. unwoman says:

    Can I just mention how happy I am that it's named "HAL?"

    "What are you doing, Dave?"

  7. beerfrick says:

    Dave: "HAL, I want to go upstairs"
    HAL: "I am sorry Dave, I can not do that..."

  8. violentbloom says:

    question is did they test for the american market? can it handle the 400 pound fat lady who constantly dribbles chip dip and diet coke on it?