HAL Exoskeleton To Assist At Fukushima

The Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exoskeleton has been upgraded to help workers rehabilitate Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.


(Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exoskeleton at Fukushima video)

Workers at the plant have found it difficult to operate for long periods of time while wearing full protective equipment, particularly in the heat of the summer months.

"This new type of HAL robot suit supports the weight of protective clothing made of tungsten and enables the wearer to work on the site without feeling the burden," the company said in a statement. "It is hoped this will reduce the risks of working in harsh environments and contribute to the early restoration of operations by humans in the wake of disasters."

See the HAL suit compared to the Sarcos XOS exoskeleton and Iron Man in HAL vs. XOS: Who Will Have First Iron Man Suit?.

Exoskeletons were first conceived by sf writers as a way to do work in heavy gravity situations; take a look at this quote from John W. Campbell's 1938 short story The Brain Pirates:

"We have those new suits rigged with atomic-powered lifting gadgets, so that'll protect us from the weight, if what our instruments say about that world's true..."

"I'll go check up on those suits and make some adjustments. I hadn't thought they'd have to handle any double-gravity worlds."

"... may I suggest that you make sure you don't get those drive-units in the suits backward? I'd hate to have them sit on me as well as a doubled gravity..."
(Read more about Campbell's Atomic-Powered Lifting Suits)

From the Telegraph; thanks to Vik at Diamond Age for the tip on this article.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/14/2011)

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