HAL2 power suit concept (via Cyberdyne)
During Japan's Robot Week 2012, Cyberdyne corporation has revealed modifications that they have made to their Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) suit. The improvements will keep users safe from lethal radiation for workers in nuclear power plants or in times of unfortunate disasters such as Fukushima disaster of last year.
The original HAL power suit was designed to help users move and lift heavy projects. Marketed toward the elderly, physiotherapy patients, and any field where heavy lifting is required, the suit weighs around fifty pounds but to a user wearing and moving in the suit they can barely feel it. To make it work, the suit has sensors that pick up biosignals given off by motorneurons being sent to muscles. Through analysis of these signals, the suit works out which body parts are about to move and a power unit moves the robotic suit in sync with the body.
The new and improved HAL suit comes equipped with a 132-pound tungsten vest, which protects the users from harmful radiation. All the power is supplied via a battery supply which puts out 100 Volts to power the system. According to Cyberdyne, the power supply can provide approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes of continuous operation time. In addition to the battery pack, the control unit which handles all the signal processing is located on the back of the suit near the lower torso. And to keep users comfortable and relaxed the suit also has a ventilation system working through a fan also located in the back of the suit.
The suit is already 130 hospitals in Japan using the original HAL suit. There have been no announcements to when and where the radiation suit is going to be used, however, it would be cool to see this thing out in the field and in action soon. It may be a little ironic that the company who created the suit is named after the same company which doomed humanity in the popular Terminator movie, but let's hope they don't create any self-aware robots that try to help us by destroying humanity.
Below is a video of the original HAL suit.