The HAL Robot Suit At CES 2011

Posted: Jan 7 2011, 3:30pm CST | by , in News | CES

The HAL Robot Suit At CES 2011
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Cyberdyne Systems Makes The Terminator Mk. 1

Giant murderous robot technology is still lamentably far behind where we expected it to be by 2011. The Terminator series had the whole world ruined by nuclear war by this point. By all rights, we should be smack dab in the middle of a Robot Apocalypse right now.

The US Army may have fallen down in their murder-bot making duties, but a Japanese start-up named Cyberdyne is hard at work making James Cameron's nightmarish dreams a reality. They've got a robotic exo-skeleton named the HAL that is basically the first step towards powered armor. Or Terminators. Basically, everything worthwhile about the future.

Of course, the wimpy do-gooder engineers that run the company envision the HAL's primary application as healthcare. It's already in use over in Japan. They showed videos in the demo of a partially paralyzed man using the suit to move his legs, and a man who had been wheelchair bound for two years using it to walk.

The HAL actually measures the signals your brain sends to your muscles, and reads the tiny micromovements on the surface of your skin. Then it reacts and moves along with your legs. As long as you aren't completely paralyzed (it needs to read a some signal) the HAL can help you to move.

Cyberdyne's demo guy was quite able-bodied, and he had no trouble strapping himself in and setting the device up on his own. It seemed completely silent in-use, though the noise of the convention center may have been responsible for that. From watching him put it together, I'd estimate less than twenty minutes from in-the-box to on-your-body.

No word yet on when the full-body version will be available for rich madmen vigilantes in the United States, but it can't be that far off. I hope.

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