This tiny girl is wearing what's called a "Power Jacket", which is an inflatable exokeleton that weighs only four pounds.
Japanese electronics giant Matsushita Electric Industrial unveils the prototype model for a "power jacket" to help patients recover from partial paralysis during rehabilitation, at the Home Care and Rehabilitation Exhibition in Tokyo.
This appears to be made by the same folks that did the Muscle Therapy Jacket last year, and looks much more compact (although less sci-fi) than the Inflatable Exoskeleton by Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi. By the way, for those of you who want to get ahold of this for your paralized loved ones, the cost is likely to be about US $17,000 or 2 million yen, although I cannot sell you one so please don't contact me. Seriously, I have no inflatable robotic suits to sell, and all the info I know about them is contained within this article.
[ Link. Found by Mark. Thanks Mark! ]
This badass exoskeleton is called the HAL-5, or the Hypbrid Assistive Limb. Of course it's aimed at the medical field, but somehow I think this kind of technology is really going to be pushed by the US military more so that soldiers can carry larger loads, specifically bigger guns.
To see how far this suit has come, check out engadget's post about the original HAL.
This muscle therapy jacket seems a lot like the inflatable exoskeleton we just saw from Japan, but more elegant, instead of the previous anime-like creation.
A robotic jacket that helps stroke victims recover from partial paralysis could be ready to wear in the near future.
The device-essentially a mesh jacket in form-uses sensors to detect the muscle movements in the patient's healthy arm and wrist, then uses artificial muscles to stimulate that same movement on the damaged side of the body. Researchers hope repeated therapy will bring back the regular functioning of the damaged limb.
"If (the use of) this jacket spreads, it will be possible to provide long-term support for patients at home," said Akio Nakagawa, professor of occupational therapy at Kobe Gakuin University.
He was part of a robotics research team at the university that worked in conjunction with Osaka University and Activelink Co., a subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. in Seika, Kyoto Prefecture.
Clinical trials will soon be conducted with the jacket.
The suit mimics the body's system of connecting muscles to bones via tendons.
It could be used to boost the strength of specific muscles, such as biceps or triceps.
The artificial muscles are made up of inflatable rubber tubes surrounded by flexible metal mesh connected at each end to the joints on the suit
When the tube inflates, the mesh bulges, which in turn pulls each end in and shortens the artificial muscle.
Pressure sensors all over the suit would tell the artificial muscles when to kick in.
These sensors sound a lot like the Segway, which detects small movements from a person, and uses those movements to decide to move forward, backward, or come to a complete stop. Having a grandmother who is not able to move as well anymore, I can see the significance of technology such as this. Check out the video of the suit in action!
Here's yet another Exoskeleton, designed to help nurses pick up patients and do other tasks. I would imagine it would be cheaper to hire some huge bloke to throw the people around, but I'm sure the bedside manner of this lady is a bit better than your local bouncer. Then again, maybe having a nurse in a giant robotic uniform is a bit threatening.
[ Link to New Scientist Article ]