Developed by Japanese manufacturer Cyberdyne, HAL (a.k.a. Hybrid Assistive Limb) is a battery- powered wearable robot suit developed to strengthen the wearer’s physical capability. Affix a sensor to your skin and poof: HAL will pick up the biosignals that connect your brain to your muscles and then motor its robotic joints along with your body’s natural movements. Sadly for Iron Man fans, this $4,200 cyborg wasn’t made for rogue vigilantes (though we’re sure you’ll find a way to acquire the suit). Rather, Cyberdyne created HAL to help victims of stroke and spinal cord injury get through everyday activities, including standing up from a chair and lifting heavy boxes. It can also handle mountain climbing and trudging through snow. If only it were available to residents outside of Japan.
Published in Brand X on May 1, 2009. Learn more about my work at Brand X.