Allow me to introduce you to HAL - the "Hybrid Assistive Limb" from Cyberdyne. HAL, is a robotic suit or rather exoskeleton that can be worn by humans to potentially give them superhuman strength by multiplying the users strength by a factor of 2 to 10. Created by Prof. Yoshiyuki Sankai of Tsukuba University of Japan the HAL robotic suit is able to detect minute bio-signals on the skin when sent from the nervous system to the muscles which are then read by a computer system and translated into movement by the power units. After receiving the signals the power units on the arms and legs are then activated to mimic the movement of the limbs.
Will we see these HALs being used on our streets soon? Perhaps in the near future, however, at the moment the HAL is touted for use in Japan only. A quick look at HAL's product page offers some insight on what exactly the suit could be used for:
HAL is expected to be applied in various fields such as rehabilitation support and physical training support in medical field, ADL support for disabled people, heavy labour support at factories, and rescue support at disaster sites, as well as in the entertainment field.
Currently, at the cutting edge of cyborg technology, HAL, could potentially create the watermark that could lead to further studies and applications of robotic suits to help us in our day to day activities. And in those special circumstances help rescue and support services in saving lives and in helping those in need. I hope that we'll see more HAL like suits in the near future as it could only lead to better things.
YouTube - [Link]
Cyberdyne - [http://www.cyberdyne.jp/English/index.html]