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 ")

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1928.

Soft Filaments Form Artificial Muscles
Battletech!

 

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

Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).

Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.'

Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.'

Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.'

Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'

Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.'

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.