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

How to Give your Smartphone the Android L Look

Android L is Google's latest mobile operating system. Apart from a complete UI overhaul, this version brings along a myriad of performance improvements. Compared to its competitor iOS 8, Android L outperforms the Apple mobile operating system in design and performance. Though there is no clear announcement as to when Android L will be reaching our devices, its Material Design has slowly started catching up among app developers. Furthermore, many apps have come up that let you completely change the Android smartphone’s user interface to match that of Android L. Although many of those apps are annoyingly hard to use, some of them make the job really simple. Below, we'll show you how to make the most out of such apps and then transform your phone’s UI to completely match the Android L look. Read more

Webconverger 26 Is a Secure Kiosk OS That Doesn't Store Any Data

Webconverger is a distribution designed and developed with a single goal in mind, namely to provide the best Kiosk experience possible. This means that people will be able to use that OS as a regular system, although its functionality will be limited and it will be impossible to install any other apps. This is a very helpful solution if this is a public PC, like in a library or a cafe, and it preserves the quality of the installation for a very long time. Because users can't interact with it on a deeper level, the operating system will remain stable and it will be pretty much the same like in the first day that it was used. Read more

Today in Techrights

5 more killer features Windows 9 should steal from Linux

If the latest Windows 9 leaks are any indication, some of the operating system's coolest new features will look a lot like what Linux users already enjoy: Like the virtual desktops Linux users have had since the 90’s, and a centralized notification center like the one available in GNOME Shell. Windows 9 also looks like it'll co-opt Ubuntu’s vision of a single operating system interface that can run on all form factors, complete with apps that run in windowed mode when it makes more sense to do so. Who would have imagined? Windowed applications are a big new feature in Windows. Read more