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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Robot suit for disaster recovery workers

After the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 and the nuclear power plant disaster at Fukushima the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, NEDO,  has implemented a "disaster unmanned systems research and development project" to support the development of robots for performing disaster response. One of the latest results was demonstrated recently by Cyberdyne, the developer of the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exoskeleton. The new version of HAL is aimed to support recovery worker under harsh environments. According to Cyberdyne, the exoskeleton can reduce radiation exposure by 50 percent, and includes a cooling system to prevent heatstroke. Heart rates and vital signs are monitored in real-time, and most of the suit’s weight is carried by the skeleton’s mechanical legs — as well as tools that can be used to repair damage.

Cyberdyne was established in 2004 to facilitate commercialization of the HAL robot suit. The HAL suit was originally intended to be a rehabilitation aid, although other modifications have resulted in a significant increase of a wearer’s strength.

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