Monday, May 04, 2009

Cyberdyne Japan makes HAL

What is a common denominator between two science fiction movies: "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Terminator" ? The answer gives Tsukuba University engineering professor Yoshiyuki Sankaican whose passion for Science Fiction gave birth to Japanese startup Cyberdyne and their product - HAL.

HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) is not an almighty AI computer but a cybernetic bodysuit when worn on human body your muscle strength can be facilitated as much as tenfold. Cyberdyne is said to start mass producing those HAL bionic exoskeletons from 4200$.

From the company's site

"Robot Suit HAL" is a cyborg-type robot that can expand and improve physical capability.
When a person attempts to move, nerve signals are sent from the brain to the muscles via motoneuron, moving the musculoskeletal system as a consequence. At this moment, very weak biosignals can be detected on the surface of the skin. "HAL" catches these signals through a sensor attached on the skin of the wearer. Based on the signals obtained, the power unit is controlled to move the joint unitedly with the wearer's muscle movement, enabling to support the wearer's daily activities. This is what we call a 'voluntary control system' that provides movement interpreting the wearer's intention from the biosignals in advance of the actual movement. Not only a 'voluntary control system' "HAL" has, but also a 'robotic autonomous control system' that provides human-like movement based on a robotic system which integrally work together with the 'autonomous control system'. "HAL" is the world's first cyborg-type robot controlled by this unique Hybrid System.

Meanwhile distribution is limited to Japan only.

I wonder if successful how long time it will before sombody takes them in court for infringement of "intellectual property" of trademarked names ?

Sadly, they can't rename it to "Android" too, Google is already strugling with this name. Frankly, I'm waiting for Karel Chapek's descendants to claim their right for the "robot" name. Apart from being enthusiastic about Cyberdyne HAL suits I also hope more people will read original Chapek's novels like R.U.R.
many of his works had deep philosophical roots. He cared about truth and justice, and these values he gained by his readings of philosophers, especially the then-modern philosopher Henri Bergson.

1 comment:

Developer said...

Yeah, I read the Google is being sued by some company named Android because of the patent name in Android.

I just couldn't imagine a city where most of the population wearing the HAL suit ;)

Maybe it would feel like Attack of the Clones :))

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