Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hybrid Assistive Limb

As I wrote some days ago, I am more and more amazed each time I hear about Japanese culture. Hi-tech has indeed become part of such great and respectable country's way of life.
All those gadgets that have been built in Japan lately are really awesome. It looks that the era in which our best friends will be robots is approaching very fast; the world depicted in several Sci-Fi books will become reality in some years' time. And partly, thanks to the research that Japanese scientist are developing in the field of high-tech.
One of the inventions resulting from such research deserves a special mention. It is called the Hybrid Assistive Limb, or HAL, a sort of artificial exoskeleton designed to help people with disabilities to perform activities like walking and lifting heavy objects. The exoskeleton is powered by a battery contained in a backpack; it works by 'feeling' electrical impulses sent from the brain to the respective extremities. The HAL reacts to the stimulus quicker than the individual's body, performing the movement desired by the person.
Such device was developed by a group of Japanese scientists lead by professor Yoshiyuki Sankai at the University of Tsukuba.
A newspaper in Japan reveals that around 400 HALs will be assembled, each of which will be either leased or sold for prices nearing the $5,000 US dollars.
This is a very interesting invention, that may really revolutionize treatments for people with disabilities. I'm sure that devices like this one will indeed make their lives easier.
I welcome this invention. Two thumbs up for it.

For more information about the HAL, visit its homepage by clicking here.


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