A new futuristic robotic suit is allowing paralyzed people to walk again. Named HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb), this exosuit looks like a movie prop from Terminator, but isn’t nearly as heavy or clunky. Developed by a Japanese professor, Dr.Sankai, at the University of Tsukaba, this invention could revolutionize treatment for paralysis everywhere.
In order for us to move, our brain has to send a signal to the body part that we want to use. In paralysis, people’s brains aren’t able to convey that signal because their nerves don’t work. This is where the HAL joins the game. Sensitive enough to detect even the slightest signals the brain sends out, the suit allows the brain to communicate with the muscles. It gives patients the ability to move again. It is already using being used to assist paraplegic and quadriplegic people.
Albeit just a prototype, this thing of the future has already produced astounding results. A wheelchair bound patient is able to walk short distances after training with the exoskeleton 5 times a week for only 3 months. The exosuit shows considerable promise from the over 200 Japanese senior rehab centers it’s being tested in. People’s views of the robot have been very positive.
If this invention works, it could revolutionize medicine, solving a problem that has plagued scientists for several years.