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Video: Man Becomes Cyborg

by David Doody

Tags: robotic exoskeleton, HAL, Consumer Electronics Show, science and technology, IEEE Spectrum, David Doody,

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, technology journalist Evan Ackerman was the first person in the U.S. to walk in a robot suit called Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL). The exoskeleton was created by Cyberdyne, a Japanese company that envisions the suit assisting physically disabled people, though the company has been contacted by the U.S. Army, which may be interested in testing the suit, according to a story on IEEE Spectrum’s Automation Blog. Apparently all you have to do once inside the suit is think about moving and the suit takes over:

The suit works on intent: the user needs only to "think" of moving his or her legs—the suit does the rest. That's because the brain sends signals to the muscles of the legs, and the sensors detect them.

“Once I figured out how to stop trying to walk in the suit and just let the suit walk for me, the experience was almost transparent,” Ackerman said.

While the first video below is pretty remarkable—one can easily see the potential for a great amount of good for those who struggle with mobility—the second video shows where this technology is inevitably headed. Even as modern warfare moves farther and farther away from the actual battle field, those soldiers still on the ground may soon resemble those future warriors in a movie from the 1980s about humanity’s demise.  



Source: IEEE Spectrum