Only in Japan! – Cyberdyne builds cybernetic legs called HAL
Heralding the Rise of the Machines, a company in Japan working with Intel have unveiled a set of cybernetic legs, which link to a human nervous system to aide those who need a bit of support when walking. A great idea, I’m sure you’ll agree. But that’s how it always starts out. And check out the company’s name: Cyberdyne. Ring any bells?
That’s right. It’s the same company name as the one that built The Terminator in the classic James Cameron movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a killer cyborg from the future. If that wasn’t concerning enough, the cybernetics system is called HAL – that’s the self-aware computer system that goes bonkers in 2001: A Space Odyssey!
Once we put those disturbing facts behind us, this is actually a fantastic piece of technology. Presented at the Intel keynote at the Cutting-Edge IT & Electronics Comprehensive Exhibition by Cyberdyne’s CEO Yoshiyuki Sanki, the legs got their first walk out in public. Sanki addressed how HAL uses motor-neurons and ‘human will’ to move the limbs, supporting a person’s weight which they may not be able to do for themselves. Signals received by the sensors control the individual joints of the musculoskeletal system in sync with the wearer’s movement.
The on stage demonstration showed how a stroke victim could adapt to using the technology simply and within days of serious brain surgery, performing basic movements and within a week the user was able to walk fully aided by HAL.
An absolutely fantastic use of technology and a benefit for many. We just hope this HAL doesn’t start learning for itself!