HAL-5 Exoskeleton To Carry Mountain Climber

HAL-5 (Hybrid Assistive Leg), the robotic exoskeleton developed to help humans lift and carry a greater load, will now help cary a Japanese quadtiplegic to the top of a moutain.

"We developed the exo-skeleton type power assist system to realize the walking aid for the gait disorder person. At the present time, HAL is state of the art power assist system in the world. Some sensors such as angle sensors, myoelectrical sensors, floor sensors etc. are adopted in order to obtain the condition of the HAL and the operator. All of the motordrivers, measurement system, computer, wireless LAN, and power supply are built in the backpack. Using the battery attached on the waist, HAL works as the complete wearable system."
Prof. Sankai, Univ. of Tsukuba / CYBERDYNE Inc

(HAL-5 endoskeleton system)

Seiji Uchida, paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a 1983 traffic accident, will take a cable car to a point close to the summit of Breithorn, a 1,164-metre Swiss peak. Alpine mountaineer Ken Noguchi will carry him to the top, with the assistance of the HAL-5 exoskeleton.

HAL provides enough additional strength to lift an additional eighty kilograms of weight. The trek is planned for this summer.

Robotic exoskeletons have played a part in science fiction stories for decades. In his 1968 novel A Specter is Haunting Texas, science fiction writer Fritz Leiber describes specialized exoskeletons used to help human beings who grew up under microgravity conditions survive on the Earth's surface:

This truly magnificient, romantically handsome, rather lean man was standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates. From the outer edge of each rose a narrow titanium T-beam that followed the line of his leg, with a joint (locked now) at the knee, up to another joint with a titanium pelvic girdle and shallow belly support. From the back of this girdle a T-spine rose to support a shoulder yoke and rib cage, all of the same metal. The rib cage was artistically slotted to save weight, so that curving strips followed the line of each of his very prominent ribs.

...The motors were controlled by myoelectric impulses from his ghost muscles transmitted by sensitive pickups buried in the foam-padded bands.
(Read more about the titanium exoskeleton)

Note that the 1968 fictional exoskeleton used myoelectric sensors in the bands holding the user to actuate movement, just like the 2006 real-life version.

Update: It turns out that Uchida was partly successful in making the climb:

But Uchida, who rode piggyback on a friend who was aided by a motorized exoskeleton, said he viewed getting to within 500 yards of the mountaintop as a triumph.

"Today ... I had the same feeling as when I saw the pictures of the Breithorn for the first time: I was overwhelmed," Uchida said after his return to a base station on the Klein Matterhorn.

Uchida said through an interpreter that he was grateful he "had the chance to realize my dreams of climbing it, thanks to the suit."
(Via Japanese quadriplegic partly succeeds in robot-assisted ascent of Swiss mountain)

They covered about two miles before having to turn back due to time considerations. End update.

See also the earlier article HAL-5 Robot Suit. Read more about robot suit to help quadriplegic scale the heights. Thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip and suggested sf references for the story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/4/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 8 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.' - Larry Niven, 1970.

Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...' - Paul Di Filippo, 1985

Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.

Physicists Try To Turn Light Into Matter
If E=mc squared, then... m=E/c squared!

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.

Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'

Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!

China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.

Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.