HAL 5

HAL, or Hybrid Assistive Limb, is an artificial powered exoskeleton suit currently in development by Tsukuba University of Japan, and still slated for production in the near future, as of October 2006, pending field testing. [" [http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=515132006 Paralysed man to scale Alpine peak with aid of robotic legs] ", Julian Ryall, The Scotsman, 4 April, 2006. Retrieved 30 June, 2006] There are currently two prototypes, HAL 3 which has bulkier servo-motors and only has the leg function, and HAL 5, which is a full-body exoskeleton for arms, legs, and torso. HAL 5 is currently capable of allowing the operator to lift and carry about five times as much weight as they could lift and carry unaided.

It operates by sensing weak electrical impulses from muscles via electrodes on the operator's skin and sending them to the onboard computer which in turn analyzes them and activates corresponding servos of the suit, mimicking the wearer's motions. The whole suit is powered by a 100-volt battery attached to the operator's waist.

On October 7th, 2008, DailyMail.co.uk via Gizmodo.com announced that it would be available for rent this week. [" [http://gizmodo.com/5060379/hal-robot-exoskeletons-available-for-rent Faster, Better, Stronger: HAL Robot Exoskeletons Available for Rent] ", Elain Chow, Gizmodo, 7 October, 2008. Retrieved 7 October, 2008] The 22 pound model is for the legs only, which is belted at the waist and legs. By measuring brain signals with sensors on the skin, it "works effortlessly with your muscles" to strengthen by approximately ten fold. Additionally, single-leg rentals are available. The aptly-named Japanese company Cyberdyne plans to mass-produce and rent out 500 units within the first year.

Uses

According to its homepage, HAL is being designed to assist the disabled and elderly in their daily tasks, or any physically demanding job such as disaster rescue or construction.HAL is mainly used by disabled patients in hospitals to assist them in moving from one bed to another, and can be modified so that patients can use it for rehabilitation.

References

External links

* [http://www.cyberdyne.jp/English/index.html Japanese homepage (in english)]
* [http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/oct05/1901 IEEE Spectrum article October 2005]


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