Hardware Assisted Limb (HAL): Now Even your Grandmother can Walk

When you watched Ironman and G.I. Joe, I bet you might have dreamed of a getting suite that grabs you in and makes you walk on its own and do the un-doable.

Well, half of the dreams can now come true. Thanks to Japanese robotics venture called Cyberdyne, robot-suit “HAL” (Hybrid Assistive Limb) is now available for rent. Yes, it’s not for sale.

A single leg version rents for $1,570 a month, while a two-leg unit goes for $2,300 a month. Cyberdyne has yet to announce when HAL will go on sale to the public or what the price tag will be.

Too much for being lazy. But a fair deal for the needy.

HAL is a mind-controlled wearable machine that gives humans enhanced mobility.

The HAL exoskeleton helps the wearer to carry out a variety of everyday tasks, including standing up from a chair, walking, climbing up and down stairs, and lifting heavy objects. The suit can operate for almost five hours before it needs recharging.

HAL isn’t quite ready for great grandma just yet. But until it is, Toyota researchers in Japan have built a brain/machine interface (BMI) that has been demonstrated to control a wheelchair using a person’s thoughts. The wheelchair enables a person to make it turn left or right or to move forward simply by thinking the commands –- and it has a 125 millisecond response time.

The suit’s backpack contains a battery and computer controller. When a HAL-assisted person attempts to move, nerve signals are sent from the brain to the muscles, and very weak traces of these signals can be detected on the surface of the skin. The HAL exoskeleton identifies these signals using a sensor, and a signal is sent to the suit’s power unit telling the suit to move in synch with the wearer’s own limbs.

via HplusMagazine
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