Sunday, February 14, 2010
Bionics and Robotics; More than you ever wanted to know
This is a follow-up post to my earlier articles titled, "Bionic Breakthrough and "The Future is Nearer than you Think."
In this morning's Parade Magazine, there was a two-page article titled, "Restoring the Power to Walk." The article describes the ReWalk Support Suit and the current clinical trial in Philadelphia. It mentioned that if the ReWalk receives FDA approval, there would be a more advanced version offered for sale by mid-year 2011. No price was quoted, but estimates are in the $30-40,000 range. I also found it interesting that they are working on another model for people with Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy.
There is also additional information available on the HAL (Hybrid Assistance Limb) Exoskeleton that I discussed in an earlier article. Gizmodo's article on September 10, 2009 has a video with three people walking with the "lower body" device (about 22 pounds) through the streets of Tokyo. There is also another video showing the "upper and lower body" device (about 50 pounds) in action. Wikipedia also has an article on the HAL. The most interesting article and video, however, can be found at HPlusMagazine. The video on HAL's potential use by the Army is interesting. "HAL comes in three sizes -- small, medium and large and weighs in at 23kg (50.7 lbs). A single leg version rents for 150,000 yen ($1,570) a month, while a two-leg unit goes for 220,000 yen ($2,300) a month. Tokyo rentals were initiated in August, 2009. Cyberdyne has yet to announce when HAL will go on sale to the public or what the price tag will be." The HAL 3 model (lower body only) appears to be designed for the elderly and those of us with disabilities. HAL 5 (upper and lower body), is what the military (super soldier) and manufacturing companies are more interested in.
You can probably tell by now that I find this concept fascinating. Of course, I was a big fan of the movie, "2001 - A Space Odyssey."
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