Exoskeleton rental now available

The HAL two-leg exoskeleton is now available for rent in Tokyo for $2300 per month. We saw the HAL in our power suit roundup from last year. There is footage of this lower-extremity suit demonstrated by three people. The video is a bit creepy because the they are apparently just out for a stroll in the city.

We really do want to see this succeed. Every time another advancement in exoskeletons comes around we glimpse the future of mobility and freedom for victims of paralysis. The machine is controlled via an interface that picks up electrical impulses on the surface of the skin. The built in battery provides power for up to five hours of operation before recharging is necessary.

[Thanks David]

31 thoughts on “Exoskeleton rental now available

  1. Creepy, dressed in all black matching clothes. Looks like the androids are about to put the hit on someone. Especially the part where they are walking up the stairs, they are all in sync, looks really creepy. It’s still cool though, but how are these things supposed to supplement the human body? It would seem like it would sap your energy more trying to compensate for the lag or the differences between them and normal walking.

  2. Well, the girl teetered when stepping off the sidewalk to cross the street (0:26). It also looked like she was having to put more work into walking with the thing than the other two.

    The point is to allow disabled people to walk again? Or just semi-disabled to walk like they used to?

    I’d use one if it meant I could use stairs without knee problems again. If it was going to make me imbalanced (like gal in vid)… well… I certainly don’t need any help becoming more imbalanced.

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  4. Yes, it does seem as though she is having to put a considerable amount of effort into walking with it attached. That alone might make some drag their feet in terms of adoption. We usually see these in an application where the benefit of their additional strength outweighs the hassle of their lag and effort.

    There was an example video a while back of someone lifting blocks that were far to heavy for the operator to lift without the suit. They’ve made great strides in technology since then, it shouldn’t take them long to step up the response speed.

  5. Of course it’s got stabilization. Jeezus crispy people… this is an advancement on technology to help people regain the ability to walk do you really think they’re gonna design this and hope for the best?? Perhaps the girl was trying to do the walking on her own instead of allowing the legs to do it for her. I’m sure there is a great deal of getting use to allowing something to walk for you if you can already walk. Think about it.

  6. I think the problem with the girl is that her exoskeleton isn’t attached properly.

    If you look from behind when they walk (especially right before the get on the stairs) you’ll see that her exoskeleton hips wiggle much more than the other two. I think this might be the reasoning for her balance issues. You can see when she takes a step, instead of helping her walk, the skeleton actually is being lifted up by her leg instead of lifting her leg.

    So the girl is actually “doing it wrong”, because she’s helping the suit walk instead of it helping her.

  7. There isn’t anything but straps that attach it to the body so there is going to be very limited benefit of what the exoskeleton does as far as helping people walk again or augmenting strength. The block lifting suit was more of a mech design, where the operator more or less rides inside to control it while the suit handles the strains around the operator. There was another exoskeleton leg set that might have been on here a while back that the operator sat on a banana looking seat between the legs, you would need something like that to help people walk again. This might be usable for people who have suffered something like a stroke that affects the operability of the joints, where they can still bear weight, but their joints are essentially locking to support their weight.

  8. Women have a different stride than men.

    Their hip width to leg length ratio is wider and the hip joint is a bit different.

    So it probably needs some adjustment.

    The real issue in real world use is the power supplies.

  9. I’m looking forward to the youtube videos of the power source of these bursting into flames. Brings a whole new meaning to pants on fire…

    Also, from the video’s first few seconds, you’ll notice that the girl’s suit is missing a belt that the man’s suit has. Maybe it was removed because she walks a bit differently, or for lack of a better option in fitting the device on her body. It certainly could account for some of the instability she seems to be encountering.

  10. This was lost on me, because if this ‘exoskeleton’ was just pieces of plastic strapped to their legs, the demonstration would look exactly the same.

  11. How exactly is this moving their legs? It would seem that the servos need leverage to pull and push on itself. The only point of contact that would have enough leverage is the back pack thing and they seem to be loosely attached.

  12. This design makes your arms go out to the side more than your normal walk /gate. You can see it on the female when she stops in front of the street. She moves her arms to the back of the leg pieces, but against her sides. This could add to odd walk that she is doing.
    or maybe it is riding up her rear and that is just what it looks like.

  13. I want to see someone run with one of these on… wonder if the suit’s mechanics could keep up with a running speed, and if it could, I wonder if it would make you run any faster.

  14. I could see someone going to lift something too heavy and crushing their hands/fingers between the exoskeleton and heavy object…. sweet

  15. I think the woman’s suit would make anyone who has dealt with paralyzed patients cringe… all that rubbing back and forth on the lower back will rip a hole in the person and they will be oblivious since they can’t feel it. I think that is probably going to be (and already is) the biggest hurdle to overcome. The paralyzed already get sores, infections, septic shock just sitting on high-tech cushions in a wheelchair. Add all this rubbing to the mix and you are going to pull people apart.

    What will be the affect of an outside force moving the hip joint for instance? The angles/forces will probably be off of what the muscles would do, resulting in arthritis, bone spurs, fractures, blood clots, pulmonary embolism….

  16. I’m sorry, but $2300/mo.? really? That is such an exorbitant amount for something that you should be able to buy for less then 5 grand. total. That is almost 10 times more than a car lease($300/mo.)

    If this were available in the US, so few people would rent one, that if you pool a months worth of rent, you couldn’t buy a prius. If this catches on, it would turn the fat, lazy American stereotype on its head and replace it with even larger one.

    Don’t get me wrong, these are pretty sweet, but for walking slowly down the street at $2300/mo. this is the gayest shit ever. Exo’s should be reserved as something like a power tool, no one walks down the street with a running drill in hand normally, do they?

  17. Well you wouldn’t use these for walking down the street; the video is brain-dead in that respect. What you use them for is CLIMBING. As in up hills. Japan has lots of those. Get someone from a flat sea-level city to climb up and down a few 300 meter high hills and they will salivate over something that does most of the lifting for them.

  18. Yeah.. forget those pesky stem cells.. this is where the future of de-crippling people lies :)

    This vid needs some music! Maybe they couldn’t decide between Walk Like an Egyptian or Turning Japanese, so they just left it out.

    As for me, I refuse to wear any exoskeleton that doesn’t give me powers far beyond those of mortal men. Also, something that fits below my clothes would be great.

  19. “We really do want to see this succeed. Every time another advancement in exoskeletons comes around we glimpse the future of mobility and freedom for victims of paralysis.”

    …and let’s be real here, powered battle suits.

  20. based on the way they are moving, its prob not good for the joints the hip, knees and ankles, the movement is not natural and looks forced , the chick just about topples over, that gonna cause problems. in the future i can see it helping disabled people move if it can still operate with no assistant from the operator, dead wait like someone with limited to know muscle control. its a good start for a technology but not there yet.

  21. @ napalm

    Do you realize it was just released? It does not cost $2300 to make one of those, but you are paying for all the r&d that they spent. It will be cheaper as time goes on, just like every single other product that was ever made

  22. Probably not a good idea having a woman show it off as they tend to swing their hips as they walk I could see it being a hinderance as opposed to help for them. I think it would have been a better idea to try and make something for their arms instead.

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