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WHATA hybrid assistive device that is attached to the body to help individuals prop up, stand up, sit down, bend and perform other supportive movements which may otherwise be restricted due to aging or injury.
WHYTo use robotics, technology and sensors to help older adults who have mobility restrictions and to assist caregivers in heavy lifting.
Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai. University of Tsukuba.
Florida, USA.

Program Description

“When a person tries to move, the brain sends a signal to the muscle to command the movement. At that time, a very faint signal that reflects the wearer's intention to move appears on the skin's surface. Using its sensors attached to the skin's surface, HAL detects these so-called ‘bio-electrical signals’ to perform the desired movements with the wearer's voluntary commands.”

“Neuro HALFIT is a new program that induces improvement of brain-nerve-musculoskeltal system by utilizing the world’s first Wearable Cyborg HAL.”

“If the wearer is able to successfully stand up without support from others, their independence is improved, thereby reducing the burden on caregivers.”

“Indeed, Japan’s lead in advanced robotics for healthcare is driven by its demographic conundrum. More than most, the nation’s population is shrinking and aging rapidly. Already more than a quarter of its population is 65 or older (compared with 16% in the United States), and by 2050, that’s expected to rise to around 40% in Japan. Even now elderly are taking care of elderly.
-LA times Article: ‘Desperate for workers, aging Japan turns to robots for healthcare.’

The Cyberdyne HAL Assistive Device assists body trunk and lower limb training by performing simple exercises such as standing up and sitting down. The device acts to increase mobility and quality of life.

The wearable assistive device is appropriate for those who have difficulty standing, sitting, walking, or moving their arms on their own due to decline in physical function from aging, diseases or injury.

The assistive robotic device can be used in the following ways:

  • Nursing care facilities to help older adults with group exercise.
  • A supplement to traditional physical therapy
  • Individual home use
  • Assist caregivers  with heavy lifting and reduce work related injury and/or back pain.

The Cyberdyne HAL Assistive Device is battery powered and comes with belts and buttons and weighs 3kg.

Cyberdyne’s HAL Assistive Device is also being used in the United States by Brooks Rehabilitation Jacksonville, Florida. Physical therapy treatments use the Hybrid Assistive Limb for patients with lower limb limited mobility and conditions that affect the spinal cord, brain, and other diseases of the neuromuscular system. Uses include treatment of Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, Guillain-Barré Syndrome Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, and Peripheral Nerve Injuries.

Physical therapists are able to adjust sensors on the device attached to patient’s limbs. Tiny electrical impulses on the skin indicate the patient’s desire to move. The HAL Assistive Device then moves in response to both the user’s intentions and the physical therapist’s settings. The patient is able to initiate movements associated with walking and standing.

Cyberdyne focuses on social issues affecting the aging population and creating innovative systems that combine robots, healthcare, welfare, human resources and information.

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Find out more about the Cyberdyne HAL Assistive Device

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