Hospitals to test robot suit to help patients walk

February 09, 2013

By KWON KYONG-SUK/ Staff Writer

Ten Japanese hospitals in March will conduct the world’s first clinical tests of a cyborg-type suit designed for the rehabilitation of patients suffering from intractable nerve or muscle diseases.

"Robot Suit HAL" uses sensors attached to skin surfaces to detect weak electric biosignals produced by patients’ brains. The suit determines which muscles should be moved and uses small power units to assist in the motion.

The suit was developed by a group of researchers led by professor Yoshiyuki Sankai at the University of Tsukuba with the assistance of Cyberdyne Inc.

In the clinical tests on 30 adults, researchers and doctors will check the effectiveness of the robot suit in recovering the walking abilities of the patients.

The robot suit can be also used for patients with weak muscles.

The 10 hospitals conducting the tests include Niigata National Hospital in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, which belongs to the government-affiliated National Hospital Organization, and medical facilities in Tokyo and Osaka.

Cyberdyne also plans to test Robot Suit HAL in Europe.

By KWON KYONG-SUK/ Staff Writer
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A patient tries walking while wearing Robot Suit HAL in Niigata National Hospital in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. (Provided by Takashi Nakajima, a medical doctor at the hospital)

A patient tries walking while wearing Robot Suit HAL in Niigata National Hospital in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. (Provided by Takashi Nakajima, a medical doctor at the hospital)

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  • A patient tries walking while wearing Robot Suit HAL in Niigata National Hospital in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. (Provided by Takashi Nakajima, a medical doctor at the hospital)
  • Robot Suit HAL will be used in clinical tests in March. (Provided by Yoshiyuki Sankai/ Cyberdyne Inc.)

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