Gallery: Japanese Robo-Suit Enables Paralyzed Man to Visit France

 

A 49-year-old Japanese man who has been paralyzed for 28 years since he was involved in a car accident is set to embark on a trip to France with the aid of this super high-tech robotic suit. The futuristic device, that looks a lot like Iron Man‘s suit, will help Seiji Uchida to achieve his dream of visiting the medieval French World Heritage site of Mont Saint Michel.

Speaking to press at Tokyo’s Narita airport, Uchida said:  “Right now, I cannot stand on my own feet without help but I will never give up on my hope of someday walking on my own feet, no matter how many years it would take.” The Japanese robo-suit is called the Hybrid Assistive Limb or HAL and will be worn by Uchida’s carer. He will then carry Uchida up the hill of Mont Saint Michel which, interestingly, inspired Minas Tirith in Lords of the Rings.

The battery-powered HAL allows the wearer to carry weights of up to 80 kilograms. It does this by detecting the wearer’s muscle impulses and then supporting the his or her body movements. You may have seen a similiar design before when was created to aid  hospital carers when lifting their patients.

This won’t be Uchida’s first European adventure. In 2006, he, with a support team used an earlier version of the suit in an unsuccessful attempt to conquer the 13,661-foot Breithorn peak in Switzerland. Uchida hopes that his latest adventure will “prove that it is possible for disabled people to visit the world’s historic sites without relying on facilities like elevators.”

+ Hybrid Assisted Limb

Via Discovery News

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  1. tahrey July 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Aw, I was well excited by this until I read that it was being worn by his carer. It’s pretty much a retrofit of the kind of effort-sensing/boosting system that some electric bicycles use, then.

    May as well just employ a carer with stronger arms and legs, or send the current one to the gym to do some body building!

    Roll on neural/spinal interfaces so he can control the suit directly, and stronger motors so it can support his weight as well as being half-carried by / boosting the fully working muscles of his carer…

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