Exoskeleton (HAL)

The Hybrid Assistive Limb (also known as HAL) is a powered exoskeleton suit developed by Japan‘s Tsukuba University and the robotics company CYBERDYNE. It has been designed to support and expand the physical capabilities of its users, particularly people with physical disabilities. HAL 5 is a full-body exoskeleton for the arms, legs, and torso. HAL 5 is capable of allowing the operator to lift and carry about five times as much weight as he or she could lift and carry unaided. In 2011, CYBERDYNE and Tsukuba University jointly announced that hospital trials of the full HAL suit would begin in 2012, with tests to continue until 2014 or 2015. By October 2012, HAL suits were in use by 130 different medical institutions across Japan. In February 2013, the HAL system became the first powered exoskeleton to receive global safety certification. When a person attempts to move their body, nerve signals are sent from the brain to the muscles through the motor neurons, moving the musculoskeletal system. When this happens, small biosignals can be detected on the surface of the skin. The HAL suit registers these signals through a sensor attached to the skin of the wearer. Based on the signals obtained, the power unit moves the joint to support and amplify the wearer‘s motion. The HAL suit possesses both a user-activated voluntary control system and a robotic autonomous control system for automatic motion support. HAL is designed to assist the disabled and elderly in their daily tasks, but may also be used to support workers with physically demanding jobs such as disaster rescue or construction. HAL is mainly used by disabled patients in hospitals, and can be modified so that patients can use it for longer-term rehabilitation.


Original sources:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViL4bAUGuGY (09/08/2010)