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Robot Body Suit To Be Marketed In Japan 128

Posted by timothy
from the we-all-want-exoskeletons dept.
destinyland writes "A Japanese company is preparing limited mass production of a cybernetic bodysuit which dramatically increases user strength up to ten times. The "Hybrid Assistive Limb" suit synchronizes movements of a mechanical exoskeleton to biological nerve signals detected by biopads on the body. (Originally envisioned for people with disabilities, the suit also has industrial applications, and the company is planning annual production of 400 units at $4,200 apiece.) Its battery life is five hours, according to the company's web site, which promises they're also opening an EU branch to begin sales outside of Japan."
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Robot Body Suit To Be Marketed In Japan

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  • by somersault (912633) on Friday April 10, 2009 @03:38AM (#27529025) Homepage Journal

    Seems a bit of an oxymoron.

    And I want one. With lascannons.

    • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:10AM (#27529141)

      I want one with a fleshlight installed for my penis and massage rollers for my legs and back.

      Why do I have to give up comfort to gain the benefits of the suit?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wisty (1335733)

      It's $4000, so it's not out of range for a really cool toy.

      I wonder if you could get a paintball cannon as well? :D

      • by somersault (912633) on Friday April 10, 2009 @05:47AM (#27529485) Homepage Journal

        Yep the price is pretty reasonable.. though I don't have any real uses for it, I'm already far stronger than I need to be for day to day life as an IT professional!

        Now, if they added on a rocketpack with say 5 miles range then I'd consider it a worthwhile investment as my main commuter vehicle :)

        • by Skevin (16048) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:03PM (#27534883) Journal

          > far stronger than I need to be for day to day life as an IT professional!

          Your work environment will adapt.

          Trac ticket 14849
          Reported by: Operations Manager
          Owned by: Somersault
          Priority: Major
          Description: Hey, we just got eight full racks of blade servers downstairs. Please bring them up to the fifth floor before lunch. There's also a three-ton rack cooler that needs to be installed.

          Trac ticket 14936
          Reported by: Operations Manager
          Owned by: Somersault
          Priority: Major
          Description: Our next truckload of routers is here. I need them in the NOC. This time, DO NOT bring the truck. Just the routers.

          Trac ticket 15186
          Reported by: Office Manager
          Owned by: Somersault
          Priority: Major
          Description: Somersault, would you be a dear and open the jar of peanut butter in the kitchen fridge? No one else in the office can even budge it, but you with your exo-suit and all... Thanks.

          • I like your thinking! I could claim this thing as a work expense if I could just find the right jar of peanut butter..

    • "limited mass production" Seems a bit of an oxymoron.

      And I want one. With lascannons.

      It's not really an oxymoron. It could imply that they will be producing them via mass-production means but aren't going to be pumping them out by the 10's of thousands.

      This is opposed to them being built by hand by a small crew in their parent's garage. Investors and such would probably look more favorably on a company that has (or claims to have) access to mass production facilities.

      However I am skeptical about this whole thing.

      • After reading all the comments on this post, I'm surprised nobody called it what it is:

        Guerilla marketing for the new terminator movie.

        They did the same thing with skynet a while back too.
    • by SIR_Taco (467460)

      don't worry, it's on a gigantically small scale

  • looks kinda neat, straps a bit gay though, make some form of cover for the front and rear of the person and it may just look like your going to a japanese anime convention or something.
  • Cyberdyne? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lurker (1078) on Friday April 10, 2009 @03:47AM (#27529049)
    Look at the name of the company . . . Cyberdyne. Fuck them and their goddamn pre-Terminator bullshit. I shouldn't worry, they'll probably be bought out by Weyland-Yutani anyway.
  • by Bazman (4849) on Friday April 10, 2009 @03:54AM (#27529077) Journal

    Hybrid Assisted Limb? Or H-A-L for short? HAL?

    I'm waiting for the model 9000.

    • With all the jumping on buzzwords like HAL and "Cyberdine", I think it's clear they meant "How About (some publicity on) Leno?".

    • by kiehlster (844523)
      I'd be more interested in the Cyberdyne HAL model T1000. Why would you need superior AI intellect when you can turn into a pile of sentient mercury?
  • Velcro? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Friday April 10, 2009 @03:55AM (#27529081) Homepage Journal

    Increase your strength by 1000% ! Attaches to your body with... velcro?
     
    Still waiting for the "in use" videos to pop up on youtube. I'd love to see a driver unload a freight truck wearing one of these, instead of a forklift.

    • Re:Velcro? (Score:5, Informative)

      by loutr (626763) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:26AM (#27529207)
      FTFA [youtube.com]. There's a demonstration at about 3:40.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Neil Sausage (633803)
        And in a terrific coincidence with one of today's other articles [slashdot.org], the audio's been disabled because it hasn't been authorized by Warner Music Group. The word egregious comes to mind, and that's putting it nicely.
    • I'd love to see a driver unload a freight truck wearing one of these, instead of a forklift.

      His hands still have to carry the whole load so I don't really see an advantage.

      • At least until recently, my wrists have been strong enough to support a significant amount of weight (recently they were injured in a high impact fall) but the steel plate in one of my arms has significantly reduced my lifting weight - something like this would significantly help me out. Indeed I've already been working on my own plans for an auxiliary (hydraulic based) system for the arm in question.

        I don't think I would be giving over 4 grand to a corporation with this particular name though...
    • by wisty (1335733)

      Or the "cock-ups" videos. HAL-suited people crushing tools, slapping co-workers on the back. The inevitable Darwin awards.

    • by blindd0t (855876)
      Have you watched Grandma's Boy [wikipedia.org]? J.P. gives you a pretty good idea of what it would look and sound like. =P
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SupremoMan (912191)

      Increase your strength by 1000% ! Attaches to your body with... velcro?

      No, more like your body attaches to it via Velcro.

  • Did anyone actually take note of the name of the Japanese Corporation making this thing? Way to leave out actually survival-critical news.
  • Isn't that kind of an oxymoron?

    At least five hours isn't time enough to do that much damage, should one of them become self-aware.

    • Well, you only need 5 of them to cover the whole 24 hours, if they reload in less than 19 hours.
      If not... you still got 395 others of them.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Isn't that kind of an oxymoron?

      No, it is not. An oxymoron is self-contradictory. Limited mass production is redundant; we know it's not unlimited because there's only so much mass to work with and after you make too much of it into stuff you don't have anywhere to stand. But since it's clearly not unlimited, it's not contradictory, and you fail English.

    • by furby076 (1461805)
      The /. poster said limited mass production. The article says annual production of 400. The /. poster fails. The /. editors fail for poor grammar "Cyberdyne are planing". It would be more appropriate to say "Cyberdine IS planning"

      Cyberdyne are planning an annual production of 400 units

      Also, according to Cyberdyne's website battary life is at 2 hours 40 minutes. Not sure where you got at least 5 hours. As for self-awareness the device has to have some form of AI. I know you were trying to be funny, but you have to wait until version 2.0 to pull this joke out :)

      • It does. The exoskeleton works by reading the bio electric signals. Then 'guessing' what movement you intend to make from a large list of things possible. It then moves before you do so that you arent pulling yourself out of the suit. So there is some AI involved, and an sensor malfunction could result in you rampageing the city. Better still since the system works on a set of movements... Normally with random signals you'd probablly just fall down or flail randomly. With a list of instructions it to go abo
        • by furby076 (1461805)

          It does. The exoskeleton works by reading the bio electric signals. Then 'guessing' what movement you intend to make from a large list of things possible. It then moves before you do so that you arent pulling yourself out of the suit. So there is some AI involved, and an sensor malfunction could result in you rampageing the city. Better still since the system works on a set of movements... Normally with random signals you'd probablly just fall down or flail randomly. With a list of instructions it to go about on its own. :D

          Sorry, doing X when Y happens is not AI. Now if the computer see's you doing Y and it thinks "hmm X isn't the best course, neither is Z, neither is A. Hey this user is a moron let's do something completely different to get a new outcome" that would be AI.

          • Depends on the implementation. It could try to guess but if you resist 'learn' new movements. That would allow it to feel more natural for the user.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:09AM (#27529135)

    Before someone goes and dreams of a Steve Austin experience: You can't carry more. You can't lift a car, unless that "wearable robot" also comes with an exoskelet that can carry that weight.

    Lifting power is not only muscle power. It is also required that you are able to endure the stress that additional weight puts on your system.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If the weight capacity isn't signifigantly more than the capacity of the human body, then what would be the point, aside from an interesting halloween costume?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:48AM (#27529271)

        The point would be to let someone lift objects they can normally handle with less fatigue on the muscles. So an activity that someone used to be able to do for only say 15mins they can now do for hours without feeling tired.

      • Depending on your physical shape, it could well enable you to carry more (since your bones can support a few 100 kg, unlike your muscles that can't pick it up and hold it) or longer (instead of getting tired after a minute you could work for two hours hauling around large boxes).

        I could see a market for computer geeks that face the problem of carrying a few computers to and from offices.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rob the Bold (788862)

        If the weight capacity isn't signifigantly more than the capacity of the human body, then what would be the point, aside from an interesting halloween costume?

        Lots of people have lifting capacity less than an average human body due to disease, injury or age. These people might like to have jobs or pick up grandchildren.

    • by Enleth (947766) <enleth@enleth.com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @05:14AM (#27529341) Homepage

      Actually, it is, to some extent.

      Human skeleton can support much more weight than the muscles could ever lift. After all, the athletes with several times more muscle than a normal person can lift several times more than a normal person could, but their skeletons aren't several times more durable. Exercise makes them a bit stronger, due to good blood supply rich with macroelements, but the same could be achieved with just a good diet and some normal daily exercise, not necessairly athlete's training sessions.

      So it will be possible to use this for some weight lifting - I guess 100kg would be easy, there was a video of a guy in a prototype of this device carrying 100kg of rice around the lab. 200kg should be manageable, maybe 300kg could be the limit for most people, as that's what some athletes can still manage safely for a while. Well, ask a doctor specialising in skeletal aliments for some hard facts, I think they'd be quite interested in figuring this out.

      • Human skeleton can support much more weight than the muscles could ever lift. After all, the athletes with several times more muscle than a normal person can lift several times more than a normal person could, but their skeletons aren't several times more durable.

        Actually exercise, weight bearing exercise in particular, will make your bones significantly more dense and therefore stronger. This is why weight bearing exercise is recommended to people getting on in years, and especially women, as it helps r
    • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday April 10, 2009 @05:36AM (#27529421) Journal

      From the picture in the linked article, it's pretty obvious that this is indeed an exoskeleton - it has bottom support (from underneath the feet) all the way up to the arms.

    • by Yogiz (1123127)

      Actually it seems to support the whole body, especially the back quite well.

      Here's a video [youtube.com].

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Before someone goes and dreams of a Steve Austin experience: You can't carry more. You can't lift a car, unless that "wearable robot" also comes with an exoskelet that can carry that weight.

      Lifting power is not only muscle power. It is also required that you are able to endure the stress that additional weight puts on your system.

      Their website and video seem to disagree with you

      http://www.cyberdyne.jp/english/faq/index.html
      Q: How much does "HAL" multiply one's strength?

      A: It depends on the type of "HAL" you wear, but roughly speaking, "HAL" can multiply the original strength by a factor of 2 to 10.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&v=ynL8BCXih8U
      Skip to 3 minutes 20 seconds

    • Before someone goes and dreams of a Steve Austin experience: You can't carry more. You can't lift a car, unless that "wearable robot" also comes with an exoskelet that can carry that weight.

      Too bad you didn't read the fucking summary which contains the word "exoskeleton".

      -1, WhatAnIdiot

      • Nothing for your hands or shoulders though so there isn't much point. I bet HALc will have those but this one doesn't. Once they do put that in it'll be much more useful for superhuman strength. At the moment its only good for super human standing up.... super-human squats? But if the suit could lift 1000kgs and still had nothing for your hand it would only be a good tool to rip your hands off.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The Shirow arms are probably going to be an optional add-on that costs as much as the original suit. It's a logical upgrade, though.

    • by vyrus128 (747164)

      From the summary (you didn't even have to RTA): "mechanical exoskeleton"

    • It says that it carries its own weight. From the pic, it is appears to have a nearly identical design to l-marts new toy that they developed for sale to the US military and NATO. My understanding is that their exoskeleton is already in production.
    • My thoughts as well. Give a proper handle, and can lift a 100 pound weight off the ground using one hand. Grab the handle an pull up with the legs. I would guess most males can do this too. Now grab a 1000 pound weight and try to lift it strapped in to this thing. If you were able to hold on to it and not let it slip out of your hand, I would think it likely that you would rip your hand off of your wrist. To be truly useful for lifting things over a long period of time, you would need some sort of mechanica
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please subscribe us to your newsletter.

    The Yakuza.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Welcome myself as your new robotic overlord!

  • by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:21AM (#27529185)

    I hope I'm not the only one who saw this and thought, oh cool! Only $4,200? What a steal, I'm gunna get one!

    Too bad reality set in :(

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rosyna (80334)

      No, I had the same thought too. Then I saw "Cyberdyne" and "HAL". Sigh, it's either a joke or the beginning of armageddon.

      Not sure which I'd prefer.

    • by SalaSSin (1414849)
      I was already checking out if i could preorder one :-)

      When you see the video, you notice they're going for cyborgs that "only use the brain".
      If there is going to be a terminator anyway, then i want it to have my brain, MUHAHAHAHA.
  • This isn't new (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sepiraph (1162995) on Friday April 10, 2009 @05:11AM (#27529337)
    This has been around for a few years. Their wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_5 [wikipedia.org]'s earliest entry is from 2005, as was the earliest event date listed in the company web site http://www.cyberdyne.jp/English/events/index.html [cyberdyne.jp].
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday April 10, 2009 @05:35AM (#27529413)
    And why exactly are we throwing millions of page views at these racist fucks???
    • Mod Up (Score:3, Informative)

      by Xiroth (917768)

      Yeah, I second that. Apparently they're only happy with the Japanese making new toys if they stay in their own country [amren.com].

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Holy mother of mercy, I checked out some links on that site and... wow... nutjob central on the border of insane row.

      Crikey.

    • by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Friday April 10, 2009 @08:11AM (#27530223) Journal

      And why exactly are we throwing millions of page views at these racist fucks???

      Sigh...the dangers of news aggregation, which is probably how the submitter stumbled upon this piece of bigoted tripe. Somewhere, a thousand page ranking algorithms just went mad seeing these two ostensibly different areas of the Net link to each other.

      Can we please be careful not to link this sort of website to slashdot? Somebody please think of the page ranking algorithms!! For those who don't want to click through, this is a summary from the site in the second link of the story (amren.com).


      * The Dangers of Diversity, Part II, Editor Jared Taylor continues a multi-part examination of the effects of diversity by taking a look at just what happens when races mix. This segment provides additional examples of the violence and conflict that ensues when different racial groups are forced to mingle in public schools, and also in prisons.
      * In Three Race Murders in Seattle, journalist Nicholas Stix reports on the murders of three white men, Edward Scott McMichael, James Paroline, and Kristopher Klime, by blacks. Mr. Stix shows how the media (and government) consistently downplayed the racial angle in these cases.
      * In A Voice For Our People, Peter Bradley reviews Frank Borzellieri's new book Lynched: A Conservative's Life on a New York City School Board, which documents the author's one-man crusade to keep Western literature and values alive in increasingly "multicultural" New York City. Mr. Bradley holds him up as example of what a difference one determined man can make in his community.
      * Plus, paying the price for insulting Obama supporters, the GOP takes its message to "hip hop settings," Attorney General Holder on the "nation of cowards," the US military becoming another foreign legion, another monkey cartoon controversy, and more!

      • by Kozz (7764)
        My company's Websense filter blocked the site, and I was sure it was an error. Apparently not! It seems the linked story was originally a Reuters story -- couldn't we have gotten that from elsewhere?
    • Holy crap! I just noticed the sidebars. "Transition to Black Rule in America"!!!!! "Kill Whitey: The Truth about Anti-White Hate Speech"!! You'd think I'd stumbled into a Texas GOP convention.
    • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Informative)

      by Idiomatick (976696)
      Please editors change the link. This is pretty bad for /. :S
    • I have considered setting up a site to parody many of the minority race sites (for example, la raza), to make ppl think about it. And here it is. Now that I read it, and realize that it really does mimic La Raza, Farrakhan, Jackson, etc, I am absolutely disgusted by it.
  • A Corporation Creating Machines Which will Doom Us All To Extinction, By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet.
  • Put one of those weird body suits on one of the guys who compete for the Worlds Strongest Man Award and you get quite a scarely looking mix between Hulk and a Robot Dog.
  • No doubt that old, old joke with the punchline, "That feels pretty good. Bionic arm...jerk it off" will enjoy renewed popularity.

  • Now that we have maximum strength, we only have to develop maximum armor and maximum speed and we're set for Crysis. Good thing we still have 11 years to do that.

  • sizes? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by martas (1439879) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:21AM (#27529601)
    This can't possibly be one size fits all. I wonder if they have to make sizes for different combinations of arm, leg, and back length?
  • by Veggiesama (1203068) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:30AM (#27529653)

    Ever wanted to be BIG BIG? Now are your chance! For little as 4200$$ American dollars now you too can enlarge your strength (up to 10x). Last for FIVE hours, for her pleasure!

  • by olddotter (638430) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:42AM (#27529715) Homepage

    This looks like an April 1st press release. Or a sad company looking for every movie tie in they could find.

    If its real, I guess we can expect 400 new super villains per year. Who is working on Spiderman suits and genetic engineering?

    Perhaps we will need the Qualcomm Crocaeagles sooner than we expected!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3agYeT-T9co [youtube.com]

  • I dunno, the picture of the guy wearing the HAL suit seemed pretty unrealistic to me. Plus, the company's name is "cyberdyne", and they've named their product HAL, ffs. It seems like a big lark to me - runs on a battery? that makes you 10 times stronger for 5 hours? And it only costs 4,200 bucks? Something here seems a little off.

  • That some fool gets in the news by trying to be a superhero and promptly gets himself hurt.

  • That's it? Shit I'll take three! Time to start a super hero group in my neighborhood!
    • by bFusion (1433853)

      You'll take three? Maybe they'll be on woot.com in a few years ... probably refurbished though.

  • Between Cyberdyne corporation and HAL suit....do we REALLY want to let this company grow? Imagine HAL in a T1000 body
  • by rlp (11898)

    I'd wait till the control system has the new ZERO System enhancement.

  • A cybernetic power-enhancing suit? Great, here comes the Covenant...
  • Where do I apply?
    Mine will be named Alphonse...

  • by Sebilrazen (870600) <blahsebilrazen@blah.com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @08:02AM (#27530161)
    for the new Terminator flick?
  • The first thing I thought of was the suit they wore in aliens to move the big machinery around.

    So naturally, my second thought was: "BAD ASS!"

    • by SalaSSin (1414849)
      I was thinking more like 'some people are going to be very sorry about having pissed me off.'
  • Starship Troopers! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else thinking "Starship Troopers?"

    On the Bounce!

  • how this compares to l-marts new suit that is being sold to the DOD? It looks similar to it. I wonder if this has => strength, and endurance.
  • Cyberdyne? HAL? Come on, its been a week already.

  • The question I would ask is how this thing is powered. Are you going to have to walk around with a giant electrical cord? Is it battery powered? Fuel? How long can this thing go before it runs out of power and you're trapped midway with hundreds of pounds in your arm? Unless there has been some massive, miraculous leap in energy storage technology, my guess is that our friend HAL is still just a novelty toy at this point.
  • Welcome our new terminator exo-skeleton wearing overlords. Well.. for 5 hours a day anyway.
  • "HAL" is a questionable and somewhat creepy marketing move.

    But "Cyberdyne"? Now that's just plain stupid. It'll take more than an army of Japanese boys in power suits (dreaming of pink hair, high skirts and higher-pitched baby voices) to stop Harlan Ellison from ripping into your jugular.

    -FL

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