Ibaraki firm unveils robot suit for nuclear workers

November 08, 2011

A powered exoskeleton to help workers carry heavy tungsten protective armor in battles against nuclear accidents like the Fukushima disaster was demonstrated on Nov. 7.

Cyberdyne Inc., based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, said it spent about two months converting technology originally developed to help people with physical difficulties get back on their feet for use in a nuclear emergency.

The suit features computer-controlled, motorized limbs, which respond to a user’s movements, helping to carry panels protecting areas from the shoulders to the lower back. The company said the armor could cut radiation exposure by nearly half.

The suit alone weighs about 15 kilograms, including its battery, and operates for 90 minutes on a single charge.

Cyberdyne, established by Yoshiyuki Sankai, professor of system information engineering at the University of Tsukuba, said it expects to be able to rent out the device for about 3 million yen ($38,380) per unit per year if it enters full production.

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A motorized suit for nuclear workers is demonstrated in Tsukuba, Ibaraki  Prefecture, on Nov. 7. (Tomoyuki Yamamoto)

A motorized suit for nuclear workers is demonstrated in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Nov. 7. (Tomoyuki Yamamoto)

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  • A motorized suit for nuclear workers is demonstrated in Tsukuba, Ibaraki  Prefecture, on Nov. 7. (Tomoyuki Yamamoto)

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