Cyberdyne Corporation of Japan, in conjunction with Daiwa House, has begun mass production of a cybernetic bodysuit that augments body movement and increases user strength by up to tenfold.
The HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) suit works by detecting faint bioelectrical signals using pads placed on specific areas of the body. The pads move the HAL suit accordingly. The Cyberdyne website explains: “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 wearer’s daily activities.”
Among the potential applications, Cyberdyne is emphasizing helping people with movement disabilities, augmenting strength for difficult industrial tasks, disaster rescue, and entertainment.
The HAL suit is not currently available. But according to Nikkei News, Daiwa and Cyberdyne are planning an annual production of 400 units and they should be marketed at approximately $4,200 US dollars.
Watch the HAL suit in action.