The cleanup following the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan is expected to take decades. Going into a highly irradiated area to do physical work requires special suits, masks, and a healthy dose of machismo to overcome fear of the invisible killer.
Cyberdyne, a Japanese company that refuses to take credit for the Terminator robot, has unveiled an exoskeleton that has the strength of a Governator while letting the user keep his own brain as the central controller. It is meant to assist the cleanup crew working in heavy, bulky suits that will end up carrying heavy tools and equipment. HAL, as the device is called by the company that can’t come up with its own names, was originally developed as a leg orthosis to help patients with neuromuscular disorders and other conditions walk with greater ease. The new device, which reads biosignals from the skin to control its power motors, provides significant additional shielding for the wearer and may help speed up the nasty mop up job at Fukushima.
Flashbacks: The Latest on Cyberdyne’s Exoskeleton Technology; Cyberdyne, Developers of Terminator, Show Off Robotic Legs at Consumer Electronics Show; HAL, The One That Walks, Goes on Sale
Info page: Robot Suit HAL
(hat tip: Neurogadget)