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Robotics Hardware

Elder-Assist Robotic Suits, From the Real Cyberdyne 121

Posted by timothy
from the how-do-you-know-it's-not-the-same-one dept.
Tasha26 writes "No, not the one which will end up building terminator robots. BBC's Click brings news of a Japanese company, Cyberdyne, which is in the process of building different robotic suits to assist the elderly in accomplishing simple body tasks such as walking and lifting. Even though still in R&D, this video (@3m15s) shows a pretty promising future for the elderly."
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Elder-Assist Robotic Suits, From the Real Cyberdyne

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  • "Walk-around" actually sounds less advanced than "Hoverround."
  • by skornenicholas (1360763) <skornenicholas@nOSpam.gmail.com> on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:10AM (#29862947) Homepage
    They named their company Cyberdyne and later realized their mistake did they? I highly doubt this, clever marketing though. On the other hand I have a coworker who IS actually named John Conner, poor man we covered his office in tin foil while he was on vacation, left him a nice note explaining that we are trying to hide him from satellite surveillance. Did lead to one of the greatest owned moments I have ever seen, our boss from NJ was handing out our new Blackberry Tours, everyone on the IT team got one but John, Jay says "I just thought in the interest of personal safety....these things have GPS tracking you know." He did actually get one of course, but not before we set his ringtone to say "Come with me if you want to live." and play the theme.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Norsefire (1494323)

      clever marketing though

      You make robots to help the elderly so you name your company after one that built robots which destroy most of humanity and declare war on what is left ... "Clever" probably isn't the term you were looking for.

      • by Razalhague (1497249) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @05:40AM (#29863207) Homepage
        Bah. It's robots. The rest is irrelevant details.
      • you name your company after one that built robots which destroy most of humanity and declare war on what is left ... "Clever" probably isn't the term you were looking for.

        i agree. i used to think it was clever, and it did catch my attention (years ago), but since then their blatant rip off just annoys me. i consider it an affront worse than vanilla ice ripping off queen....

        i hope a bunch of self respecting robots go kick their asses.

        • by kdemetter (965669)

          But in the mean time , you are talking about it , and thus doing the marketing for them.
          When it annoys you , it is even better than when you like it , because you will surely talk about it then.

          It's publicity . Good are bad , doesn't matter .

          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I hate when marketing weasels trot this tired old line out. It's awfully convenient for them, because by saying 'There's no such thing as bad publicity!", they've effectively stated that no matter what they do or the outcome of their campaign, they were successful.

            I'd love it if code worked like that. No matter how many bugs I check in, it's just successful and I pick up bonuses regularly, without having to justify what I did. That'd be sweet.

            Anyway, it's blatantly incorrect. I'm pretty sure the Catholic ch

            • I'm not saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity, of course there is. I am simply saying that the people who buy this are going to chuckle at seeing Grandma walk around in an exo-suit with Cyberdyne written on it, likely for reasons I stated in an above reply. Marketers are judged on both how well known a product is and how well it SELLS. I have worked in marketing, clever is great but if you can't move your product you don't HAVE a JOB, much less bonuses. Case in point with the Catholic church t
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              I hate when marketing weasels trot this tired old line out. It's awfully convenient for them, because by saying 'There's no such thing as bad publicity!", they've effectively stated that no matter what they do or the outcome of their campaign, they were successful.

              There definitely is such a thing as bad publicity, and in my role as a marketing weasel I'm rather sensitive to it (hard to put the right spin on a turd fastball, eh?). Remember the old "Mustang II - Boredom 0" campaign before that car sank into oblivion? Someone omitted the detail of whether or not people remember numbers (Roman numeral or otherwise) as they drive past billboards. Textbook example of "bad publicity". And whenever someone mentions Exxon Valdez, I don't think of a shiny gas pump, I think

              • by Chris Burke (6130)

                So yes, I can vouch for the existence of bad publicity. You don't want it.

                Speak for yourself. I can't exactly build archvillain cred on the back of good publicity, now can I? "The Annihilator rescues puppy from well." "The Annihilator releases new line of environmentally conscious sneakers." It just doesn't work.

      • by Jurily (900488)

        "Clever" probably isn't the term you were looking for.

        Just wait until they develop a security tool named Skynet.

      • by kdemetter (965669)

        Clever , is exactly the word :everyone knows the name , and will speak about it ( like we are doing here ) , so most of the marketing is already done.

      • Of course it's clever, it's on /. isn't it? Plus, the target audience is NOT the elderly, they don't trust technology and have likely never even WATCHED the Terminator films. It is targeting good for nothing grandchildren who get this for their grandparents trying to be "helpful," and then proceed to "borrow" it and never give it back. Not to mention whether or not you would WANT it named after the eventual destroyer of humanity would depend on how much you like your grandparents I'd suppose.
      • Yeah, and they decided to go for bingo with the product name as well. HAL? Come on...
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by stjobe (78285)

      I have a coworker who IS actually named John Conner

      Too bad the character in the movie is called John Connor, not Conner.

      • by black3d (1648913)
        Too bad? As in an office envrionment this would be a vocalised joke, it makes no difference whatsoever and you, sir, are a troll.
    • by maxume (22995)

      Given your office's penchant for the obvious, it's a good thing you guys don't work with anyone with a last name of 'Punchmyballs'.

    • Did you notice the actual suit is called HAL? hehe
    • by Phoghat (1288088)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eleoJabi2os [youtube.com]

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2FQ56q80Pc

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WObT3Go3CUo

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kfoqyxJT4o

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-0SETQIsPI

      Ad infinitum, Ad Nauseam

  • by Silent Objection (948709) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:14AM (#29862967)
    As long as they don't start asking if we've got stairs in our houses, I think we're fine.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What an unprecedented [slashdot.org] and [slashdot.org] exciting [slashdot.org] development. [slashdot.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can already see it "Get off my lawn before I fire some missiles up your ass, you damn noisy kids!"

    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      "And I would have gotten away with it, if those damned kids haddn't reprogrammed my HAL to dispense daisies."
  • ... Prof. Sankai and his team specially designed "HAL" for climbing mountains and "HAL" can even work even in the snow at 4000 meters height. ... The latest battery runs for 5 hours under normal activities.

    I think I'll hold off on the mountain climbing for now.

  • Yeah right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zouden (232738) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:55AM (#29863073)

    "No, not the one which will end up building terminator robots."

    How can you be so sure? Are you from the future?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by martijnd (148684)

      "No, not the one which will end up building terminator robots."

      How can you be so sure? Are you from the future?

      That is because the company building terminator robots has already been established -- and they are in operation right now. So Cyberdyne can relax and care for the elderly instead.

      http://www.xkcd.com/652/

    • Doh. He came back from the future to warn us and prevent the creation of terminators.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Are you suggesting that Tasha26 is really John Titor?

  • Auto walk (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tibia1 (1615959) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @05:02AM (#29863101)
    "Computer, deliver me to checkpoint D. And wake me up when we're there."
    • "Computer, deliver me to checkpoint D. And wake me up when we're there."

      Or for the geek version: "Computer, set course to checkpoint McD. Make it so !"

  • ...is actually just down the road from my apartment. Kind of freaky walking past a place with "CYBERDYNE" plastered all over it every morning.

  • by jipn4 (1367823) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @05:26AM (#29863173)

    Where do you think the organic components of the Terminator come from? Why do you think the Terminator has such a crotchety disposition? It's made from old people!

    Combine a century or more of experience and decades of having young people mess up their lawns with power and speed and it spells trouble. Even worse than the Terminator is the next step, purely biological exoskeletons for old people. I mean, what do you think Aliens are other than bio-enhanced old people with exoskeletons and acid for blood?

    Making old people weak is nature's way of protecting the young.

    Don't mess with mother nature.

    (For the humor impaired: :-)

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Making old people weak is nature's way of protecting the young."

      That and death, which assures species survival by removing useless members while rerolling the genetic dice.

  • Hardly new tech (Score:2, Interesting)

    by falconcy (1082517)
    This has been around and in production for quite a while: http://www.rslsteeper.com/orthotics/orthotic-products/argo [rslsteeper.com] The website only shows a half body setup, I understand they also do a full body suit.
  • by wilder_card (774631) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @05:57AM (#29863241)
    I shouldn't do this, but here goes: If you don't want to need a Cyberdyne 2000 to help you walk around when you're older, do weight training. It helps the aging retain muscle mass.
    • Its an interesting question. I am 44 years old, which is about half way to certain death. I would like to think that if I keep up the bike riding and other activities I could live forever. Unfortunately that approach hasn't worked for anybody else. I will stay as active as possible for as long as possible, but if I avoid heart failure and cancer I will probably spend my last years unable to move around under my own steam.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        And possibly half demented too. Maybe when I get "closer" I'll take up smoking and McD.

        I dunno why so many "nanny state" countries keep worrying about "aging population" and at the same time try so hard to discourage people from smoking, or getting obese.

        Give them a medal, they're sacrificing themselves for the nation.
    • by Genda (560240)

      With the advent of recent breakthroughs in genetic therapies (they're not killing people by accident any more), there is a real likelihood that if you have decent health insurance, you'll be able to get injections which will stimulate the genes capable of providing the kind of muscle mass a person of let's say "20" might expect. With a healthy muscle mass, the loss of physical strength normally associated with aging ceases to be an issue, and many of the other problem also associated with aging (circulation

      • The need for a Cyberdyne suit will hopefully be a stopgap for real life enhancement at the hands of doctors and biologists.

        I disagree, the Cyberdyne suit is the early prototype for mass produced Guyver armor. And then the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be truly awesome to watch.

    • by rpillala (583965)
      And bone density, no?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bender0x7D1 (536254)

        Weight training does help with bone density but not as much as workouts that jar the body in some way. (Running, basketball, racquetball, etc.)

    • by tmosley (996283)
      Or it helps build highly muscular cyborgs from the future.

      The only REAL solution here is NO exercise. None at all. Better that we end up with Terminators that look like the humans from Wall-E than Austrian supermen.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      If you don't want to need a Cyberdyne 2000 to help you walk around when you're older, do weight training

      Old people don't need help moving around because of physical weakness. Yes, there are some conditions that cause physical weakness (i.e., MS) but weight training won't stave off MS (which isn't normally a geezer disease anyway). What makes it hard for old people to get around is PAIN. Most people get arthritis when they get old. When your joints wear out you're going to have trouble getting around, and gu

  • Im afraid you can't do that.
  • by Talisman (39902) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @06:04AM (#29863265) Homepage

    I have nothing against advancing robotics, whatsoever.

    But, many of the problems with the elderly being physically infirm can be treated with steroids. Society has this bizarre view of steroids of being a horrible drug causing anything from cancer to rage to psychotic episodes. The DEA has it listed as a Schedule III drug, which carries a worse fine for possession than Xanax, Rohypnol, Valium and Halcion. Anabolic steroids are on the same DEA classification as LSD. From a legal standpoint, they view as equal what is essentially a drug that increases the rate at which proteins fold to the most powerful hallucinogen known to man.

    Give the elderly steroids, and let their doctors monitor them. Keep going with robotics, but steroids are here now.

    If you're curious where your drug of choice lands on the DEA schedule, here's a link:

    http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/scheduling.html [usdoj.gov]

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      I'm completely on board with old people using steroids. I've seen the damage an old person can do with a car ... giving them control of one of those suits from alien sounds like a bad idea.
    • You really need to read the links you're espousing. 'Anabolic Steroids" are Schedule III. The other drugs you mention are Schedule III or IV (Schedule I being the "most dangerous").

      We do give anabolic steroids to some people. However, like most drugs, they have effects and side effects. And, like most drugs, they aren't panaceas. While there is a tendency to broad brush steroids with the dark wash of something horrible (which, I believe, is the point you're trying to make), in the real world it is no
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Society has this bizarre view of steroids of being a horrible drug causing anything from cancer to rage to psychotic episodes.

      And that's not all that's wrong with them; thay can also cause [nytimes.com] cataracts [wikipedia.org], even in young people, as I found out after I was prescribed steroid eyedrops for an infection [slashdot.org].

      From a legal standpoint, they view as equal what is essentially a drug that increases the rate at which proteins fold to the most powerful hallucinogen known to man.

      The legality has nothing to do with a drug's actual d

  • The Terminators are made of people!

  • I, for one, welcome our new elder overlords
  • by these guys [wikipedia.org]

    Hopefully with the same results, it'd be nice to have some REAL news for a change.

  • "Control unit on back" - sounds like an accident waiting to happen.
    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Granny got run over by her spacesuit.

      Should have seen her doing pushups though.

      Lawyer in lawsuit.

  • Just what I need (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mark_in_Brazil (537925) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @07:43AM (#29863525)

    Just imagine iif my dad, who turns 77 today, were to receive this kind of contraption as a present. My cranky dad controlling a mech? Run for the hills!

    My dad has a master's degree in electrical engineering and likes to modify stuff (electrical and non-) to suit his needs.

    Oh, did I mention my dad got a black belt in Shotokan karate back in the '80s? I swear I am not making this up.

    Right, I should mention something basic about Dad: he is a collector of militaria and weapons, especially edged weapons, but he has a sizable number of firearms too.

    I, for one, would not welcome our heavily armed, flak jacketed, cybernetically enhanced, grumpy old black belt overlord.

    Happy birthday, Dad!

    No, he won't actually read this, but it seemed appropriate to say.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I, for one, would not welcome our heavily armed, flak jacketed, cybernetically enhanced, grumpy old black belt overlord.

      Oh, I dunno. Maybe not in real life, but I bet it would make one hell of a cartoon. :-P

      I'm going to laugh the rest of the day about robo-grandpa ... "get off my lawn, you have 10 seconds to comply".

      Cheers

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Cyborg grandpa manga:
        http://www.onemanga.com/Cyborg_Grandpa-G/

  • Because you know, email is the preferred method of communication among the elderly in Korea
  • by DieByWire (744043) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @07:58AM (#29863563)
    Now I can chase those kids off my lawn.
  • ....I've fallen down and I can't get.... er... the clap!
  • This system purports to be able to be use to increase mobility of the elderly; why are all the people in the demos young?

    I think it is because it still needs quite a bit of strength and balance to use. Walking and balance are very complex. Look at the joints. They are all single plane actuators. You can not duplicate the complex movements of the hip with that. In the plane of the actuator you get a power boost but it does not help in other directions.

    Take a look at the foot. A big part of balance is the big

  • And we here at Old Glory Insurance offer coverage for you. For when your retirement community neighbor grabs hold of you, and you can't get away - because they're metal, and robot suits are strong. Old Glory.

  • I am sorry but you are just too old to drive saftely any more. You have to surender your licence. Not to worry though here is your robotic suit.
  • Roujin Z (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe nobody has mentioned Roujin Z [wikipedia.org] yet... it's an Anime from the guy who made Akira about an automated hospital robot taking care of an old man that -- gasp -- turns out to secretly be a testbed for combat robot components, which leads to full-on geriatric mecha combat.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Yeah that's what I thought of too. That movie was hilarious. But I don't think it's widely known.

  • In the USA we just load our old folks into a "Rascal" and they go to physical therapy twice a week.

    In japan they get physical therapy all of the time by means of a mobile power assist suit.

    We pretty much suck....

  • And elderly bones are even more brittle. ...like peanut brittle.

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