Have you met my bionic grandmother?

Article on the use of robots for the care of the elderly in Japan. One of the systems talked about here, the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL), is effectively an exoskeleton that augments the person’s muscle strength. In effect it creates another form of cyborg, not dissimilar to those seen in the cinema, video games and comic books.

See: STUFF : Japan looks to robots for elderly care.

A researcher at Japan’s University of Tsukuba, Sankai has developed a robotic suit designed to make it easier for elderly people with weak muscles to move around or for care-givers to lift them.The sleek, high-tech get-up looks like a white suit of armour. It straps onto a person’s arms, legs and back and is equipped with a computer, motors and sensors that detect electric nerve signals transmitted from the brain when a person tries to move his limbs.

When the sensors detect the nerve signals, the computer starts up the relevant motors to assist the person’s motions.

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