Modified HAL Robotic Exoskeleton Gets Armored Up For First Responders

Remember that awesome robotic exoskeleton we told you NASA is working on? Well, it looks like Cyberdyne, Inc. (yes, that's the company's actual name) may have something even better in their HAL robot suit. The suit was originally revealed years ago, but now the Japanese government is modifying them for first responders.

Just look at this thing! With blue lights and all, it's really hard not to make the Iron Man connection.

Since the terrible Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster back in 2011, the Japanese government has been working diligently on robotic technologies in hopes of being better prepared for a future disaster. Not only does HAL feature motorized “assistive limbs,” a modified suit, currently being developed for first responders, is equipped with tungsten armor that can reduce radiation exposure by about 50 percent. It also features a cooling system to prevent heat stroke during labor intensive activities.

What really has us intrigued is the fact that HAL automatically responds to a wearer's body movements. According to the Cyberdyne website, HAL “catches these signals through a sensor attached on the skin of the wearer. Based on the signals obtained, the power unit is controlled to move the joint in unison with the wearer's muscle movement, enabling HAL to support the wearer's daily activities.”

While first responders will probably be the first to wear the robo-suit, Cyberdyne (I still can't believe that's the company's name. Is Judgment Day really that close?) also expects HAL to to be used for physical therapy, heavy labor support and, of course, entertainment.