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Power Armor For the Elderly

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the super-monkey-rocket-old-lady-force-go dept.

Robotics 279

aicrules writes "The question of how to care for the growing number of people in the upper age bracket has a new answer - assistive power armor for the elderly." From the article: "The sleek, high-tech get-up looks like a white suit of armor. It straps onto a person's arms, legs and back and is equipped with a computer, motors and sensors that detect electric nerve signals transmitted from the brain when a person tries to move his limbs. When the sensors detect the nerve signals, the computer starts up the relevant motors to assist the person's motions. Sankai says the suit, dubbed 'Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) 5,' can let a person who can barely do an 176-pound leg press handle 397 pounds."

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Please, put down your weapon (4, Funny)

TPIRman (142895) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142630)

In Korea, only old people are Robocop.

Re:Please, put down your weapon (4, Funny)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142659)

And to think, they named it after a computer that went insane.

Re:Please, put down your weapon (1)

slash.dt (701002) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142755)

In Korea, only old people are Robocop

Since when was Korea in Japan?

Re:Please, put down your weapon (3, Funny)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142760)

It's Japan. A bit sad really - the message I got is that we're never going to retire from the daily grind of paid employment, we're just going to get strapped into increasingly more powerful waldos until our bodies finally give up and they've no choice but to spoon our brain straight into some robot's noggin.

Re:Please, put down your weapon (1)

YeEntrancemperium (869619) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142906)

Yes, it will happen. Don't fall for it, seriously. If (when) the Earth dies, you will be begging for the sun to explode, just so you can die.

Re:Please, put down your weapon (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142924)

In Korea, only old people are Robocop.

I guess that'd be a chink in one's armour.

Ducks.

Re: -1 wrong race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142983)

YOU FAIL IT.

Re:Please, put down your weapon (1)

mesach (191869) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142930)

I'm sorry Dave, I cannot let you shoot Clarence Bottiger.

Power Armer? (1)

alfrin (858861) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142634)

I don't trust old people with driving none-the-less built in computer suit.
Please, think reasonably before making things in the future...

Power Amor! (4, Funny)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142756)

No, Power Amor - inevitable once Viagra fails to work...

The possibilities are...scary!!! (2, Interesting)

quadra23 (786171) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142849)

I don't trust old people with driving none-the-less built in computer suit.

I think there other issues such as what happens if they have a medical condition (or otherwise) that could lead them to strike out at others? Arm then you give them a warrant to do anything -- provided you don't stop them as soon as they start doing things they shouldn't.

Obviously this could happen regardless of age but can be more common as our bodies break down (i.e. where being elderly comes in). The theory seems sound until you realize the implications of putting such a system in place in practice.

Now that I think about it, the "armor" could also be controlled by someone else should certain unfavourable conditions be met. This could actually be a very good idea, just don't let control get into the wrong hands.

Oh noes! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142639)

Now we have to be wary of an army of mecha-geriatrics!

Muscles (3, Interesting)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142641)

That's going to make their already weak muscles weaker.Muscles grow on consisten application of resistance....

Re:Muscles (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142739)

Just reverse the polarity and make them do a 397 pound leg press to take a step.

KFG

Re:Muscles (4, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142764)

If you're at the point where you need it, odds are this is not going to cause more harm than good.

But, I'm in the prime of my life, and I have no problems saying this: I WANT ONE!!!

Re:Muscles (1)

slash.dt (701002) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142770)

That's going to make their already weak muscles weaker.Muscles grow on consisten application of resistance..

It's augmentation of the muscles, not complete replacement of them. I expect that there will be the ability to select how much muscle use is needed.

Re:Muscles (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142772)

That's going to make their already weak muscles weaker.Muscles grow on consisten application of resistance.

It doesn't have to. You could dial in as much resistance as you want. Consistency is important to frail people, and often fear of injury dissuades them from any exercise at all. This would help.

Re:Muscles (2, Interesting)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142945)

i've always wondered, if you lifted imaginary weights, but you put a lot of energy into trying to lift it, meaning you can actually see my arm shaking trying to lift this imaginary weight, how much exercise am i doing? is it really the same as lifting 0lbs? i mean, you can be sweating lifting imaginary weights. i know that the resistance isn't there, but much works is my body doing when imagining resistance and my body against it?

What has happened to Slashdot? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142643)

The sleek, high-tech get-up looks like a white suit of armor.

For Christ's sake, it looks like the starting point for a storm trooper costume. What's this "white suit of armor" nonsense?

Re:What has happened to Slashdot? (1)

CSMastermind (847625) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142734)

Oh no it's much worse than storm troopers. Suits that amplify strength? Gee why didn't I think of that.....maybe because it's existed in science fiction for years. Do you honestly think it will be long after someone perfects one of these before we're deploying troops with combat suits? How long before we have freakin mechs? Like every science fiction writer on the planet didn't see this coming.

Re:What has happened to Slashdot? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142816)

I doubt that 'mecha' per say will make an appearance.

Battlesuits, yes. But mechs that you pilot? Not a good shape for them, actually. Treads are better.

Re:What has happened to Slashdot? (1)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142918)

I think bipedal robots would be a lot more versatile - how do you jump over a large obstacle just with treads?
Maybe a hybrid would be best, where the robot could kneel into your most familiar position and have treads from the knees to the feet.

Good god! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142644)

This is one of the worst ideas i've ever heard!

This is so cool (3, Funny)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142645)

I can't wait til I'm Elderly!

Is anyone else thinking super soldiers? (4, Funny)

synthex (891288) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142647)

It's a great concept, but can anyone see anything other than cost per suit preventing this being used as an aid for modern soldiers? With modification, obviously. Then they just need to teach the soldiers bad one liners ('Time to take out ze trash') and we have a super soldier/Arnold hybrid!

Re:Is anyone else thinking super soldiers? (1)

TheBurningDog (747915) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142685)

Personally, I was thinking Brotherhood of Steel.

Re:Is anyone else thinking super soldiers? (2, Interesting)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142761)

Can anyone see anything other than cost per suit preventing this being used as an aid for modern soldiers

No, which is exactly why and what for: to enable soldiers to carry more armour and dish out more firepower.

Don't think for a moment that military applications of super-strength will mean Superman-style punching villains in the face. It won't. Ever.

However a major topic throughough the last century has been the weight of ammo and equipment a soldier has to carry. It's a real issue. That's one of the reasons (among other factors) why we've moved to smaller calibres.

Put some powered armour on those soldiers and suddenly they can carry a lot more heavy weaponry and ammo.

Individual armour has also been discarded precisely because of weight considerations: you _could_ make a breastplate that could stop a rifle round, but it was impractically heavy.

Now think the other way around: if you have an armoured exo-skeleton, you can carry enough armour at least over the vital organs to stop even a 7.62mm round or shrapnel from hand grenades and pipe bombs. _And_ this time it's without a mobility penalty.

You've just made life harder for the enemy soldiers, because now they need to lug around bigger weaponry to take you out, which limits _their_ mobility.

But perhaps more importantly, and this is really what makes it a wet dream for the military is: enabling soldiers to carry more electronics and a sattellite connection. Giving at least one soldier per squad enough electronics to know exactly where the enemy is, what's happening, where is the squad needed, what should they avoid, etc, is something that can give a _huge_ advantage.

Nations have been defeated before because basically their chain of command didn't react fast enough. E.g., that's why large armies like those of France or Poland crumbled in the face of Blitzkrieg in WW2. They just weren't prepared to react at that speed.

Or the USSR in WW2 was massively handicapped by their lack of radios on their tanks.

Now picture giving each squad a direct link to their officers _all_ the time. Bidirectional. You can know _exactly_ what's happening at each point, in real time, and the soldiers can know exactly what's expected of them. You can instantly see when your troops are being pinned and flanked, and how, and you can tell them exactly how to counter it. Better yet they too can see a bigger picture and react in a more intelligent manner - By copying and pasting from old slashdot stories. [slashdot.org]

It's something that can really make or break a battle.

Re:Is anyone else thinking super soldiers? (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142856)

Now picture giving each squad a direct link to their officers _all_ the time. Bidirectional. You can know _exactly_ what's happening at each point, in real time, and the soldiers can know exactly what's expected of them. You can instantly see when your troops are being pinned and flanked, and how, and you can tell them exactly how to counter it. Better yet they too can see a bigger picture and react in a more intelligent manner - By copying and pasting from old slashdot stories.


Some soldiers(Marines) could handle it, your average US grunt could not. US soldiers aren't known to be the sharpest stick in the shed, thats why other armies ridicule you guys for havign each grunt do exactly one job. Because thier not bright enough to drive a jeep and do laundry...

Re:Is anyone else thinking super soldiers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142938)

hell, might as well build a 50 cal rifle into each arm and program it to be an aimbot.

"impressive! excellent! HUMILIATION!"

Re:Is anyone else thinking super soldiers? (1)

abandonment (739466) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142762)

you think that 30 grand per suit is going to be considered a downside to an Army that already spends thousands of dollars for a Shovel or Canteen (in 2005-halliburton-adjusted dollars)?

Especially considering that the average US Footsoldier is expected to carry between 70-100 lbs of gear into combat, including laptop computers and countless other techno-devices...

If i was a grunt in the army, i'd want one of these just so i didn't HAVE to actually lug all that crap into battle - at least not exerting 100% of my energy in simply carry my kit...

I read that the new US combat rifle is supposed to cost around 7,000 per rifle - what's another 30 for an armoured suit for the soldiers...and since it already helps adjust for the weight being carried - adding kevlar armour and a super-robo cop infrared/nightvision helmet synced up via gps & awacs situational intelligence isn't too far off...

scary...

Re:Is anyone else thinking super soldiers? (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142891)

30 grand won't get you the mil-spec version. Instead of ordnance the enemy will shower your soldiers with Loctite, turning them into well-armed statues. Or they'll use microwaves to induce currents in your electronics, again turning your soldier into a statue. By the time you harden your systems enough to survive on the battlefield, you might as well build a tank.

Re:Is anyone else thinking super soldiers? (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142897)

That's been scaled back to two at most per squad, partially because of the cost. The standard infantryman will still be armed with an M16 variant.

SOmeone has to say it... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142648)

I, for one, welcome our power-armoured, elderly, overlords.

Sex performance (2, Funny)

John5788 (691053) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142649)

Yes it helps elderly with strength, so does it help the older men with sex incase viagra doesn't get it up?

Re:Sex performance (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142759)

Already invented.

Called the strap-on dildo.

Never goes soft.
Can be had with built in vibrator and other options.

Not sure how a man would get pleasure while wearing a strap on, but it'll handle the woman's needs quite nicely, just ask any lesbian. ;-)

dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142653)

too lazy to dig it up but believe me it's a dupe

and why is my confirmation text "warfare"?

Re:dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142702)

you were right [slashdot.org]

Now all we need is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142657)

some angsty/whiny 15 year olds to pilot...wait a second, did they say elderly?
Medicaid Gundam...GO!

Re:Now all we need is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142861)

Elderly mecha driver?

I'd masturbate by her bedside.

ok.... and then they take it off? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142658)

this might seem like a good idea, but if they're not using their muscles anymore and this thing does all the work what happens when they take this machine off? Or do they become so dependent on it they can't function without it?

nice..... let's get them hooked on crack while we're at it.

here's another idea. How about they get back in the gym and work on the muscles they already have. Sure they'll never win a strong man competition but at least they can get out of bed without robotic legs.

Re:ok.... and then they take it off? (1)

Volvogga (867092) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142746)

this might seem like a good idea, but if they're not using their muscles anymore and this thing does all the work what happens when they take this machine off? Or do they become so dependent on it they can't function without it?

While your point is valid, it doesn't seem like this problem would be too hard to remidy. I'm sure that there is a way to make the motors do only some of the work. For example, the user starts out with the full load, and then the motors activate as nessisary (although should the motors or software fail, the user would be royly boned). Also, if the suit could be broken down into compoents (arms, legs, back, or maybe even single arms and legs), it could be distributed as nessisary without risking the otherwise healthy body of the user. Another option may be to use some kind of muscle massager/stimulator device within the suit, sort of like hospitals use on bedridden patients.

Another thing, if the elderly person in question has already deteriorated to the point where they are living in an assisted living home, and need to be picked out of bed and placed in a wheelchair, what would the difference between that and their use of some robotic legs be? Seems to me that this invention could give thoes people a few more years of life outside of a nursing or assisted living home.

Like any new technology, there is sure to be flaws. Lets give the inventors a little time and see what they come up with.

Re:ok.... and then they take it off? (1)

andersa (687550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142771)

It's a valid concern, but I think one should think of this as a way to get people who otherwise wouldn't be able to move around much, to excercise their muscles more than they would have without this aid. Any workout counts, so I think for many this would be a good thing. Also one day it could possibly help permanently paralized to walk again, which would be a great thing in my opinion.

Elderly and assistance. (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142805)

I have to agree with you for much of it. My grandfather absolutly hates how this one company pushes those electric chairs. He says it's generally only a few months before they become totally dependant on it(unable to stand up at all), and they generally go quickly downhill.

But still, there are people, not all elderly, who are afflicted with diseases that sap their strength no matter what they do. For these people, it can be a godsend.

Also, if you have an elderly person stuck in a wheelchair, you should be able to adjust the suit to give a limited boost, such that they can start walking again, which is more exercise than they were getting before. Adjust the 'boost' as necessary.

Re:ok.... and then they take it off? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142819)

your full of shit mate. wait till your joints are riddled with arthritis and you can't stand to support your own weight and you will sing a different tune. i love the way every dickhead with an opinion on something they know nothing about thinks everyone cares.

I for one... (2, Funny)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142660)

Welcome our new geriatric, robotic overlords...

Wait... I've heard that one before.. where was it....

OH YEAH, ON /, a few weeks ago. About the same story.

DUPE!

At what point is an artcle restating a previous article's content not a dupe? How far must it be removed to still be considered news?

Sounds good... (3, Funny)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142665)

...When can I get my V3 Legs?

Re:Sounds good... (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142967)

First you have to persuade the scientist...

Take it up a notch! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142678)

Many elderly have the money, why not get the Ultimate "Get Off My Grass" Mecha? [blogspot.com]

Re:Take it up a notch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142730)

Gawd damn itch, now itch time to deshtroy my damn drunken teenashg neighbors onesh and for all! Alwaysh creating a real rukush and suchsashafrasha. Crush them I will. CRUSH THHEM!!! AHAHAHA!!! Fache my mecha you stupid kidsh!!!!! *cough* *cough* sashafrasha

Re:Take it up a notch! (1)

Stu22 (793796) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142850)

Poor kid. He worked so hard on that suit and it can't even take a step. He should have sold it in the first auction.

I hope he doesn't lose hope. He needs to learn about a wonderous new material called aluminum.

Re:Take it up a notch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142921)

I agree, he should have taken the $39,100 and moved on.

Stephen Hawking already got one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142680)

See here [paralinks.net] .

(originally from The Onion [theonion.com] , but their archive is no longer freely available)

Ryojin Z (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142681)

Nobody has ever heard of the anime Ryojin Z, in which a robot hospital bed runs away with the long-suffering old fogey trapped inside ....

Re:Ryojin Z (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142889)

Thats correct.

Despite the reputation, most of us dont have time for cartoons and comic books, even if they are in chinese.

My demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142682)

I demand a similar power strap on for my crotch. As I am getting older my junior needs all the support it can get.

Re:My demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142714)

Viagra or Cialis can help you with that. Just make sure to contact your doctor if your erection lasts longer than four hours so he'll know what dose he should also be taking.

Old People, or Stormtroopers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142687)

The sleek, high-tech get-up looks like a white suit of armor. It straps onto a person's arms, legs and back and is equipped with a computer
I quite what you just described is not "old people," but in fact are "stormtroopers."

I don't even know why the scientists make them! (3, Funny)

hamfactorial (857057) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142692)

WARNING: Persons denying the existence of robots may be robots themselves.

completely missed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142701)

what seems to a major problem with something like this is just the amount of strain it may put on the actual elder.. sure, with robo-senior 2000, my mom can lift 300 lbs of bags of mulch now, but oh wait it's literally crushing her arms in between the things..

i mean really, a light bump on the corner of a table can cause serious injury to the elderly yet this thing seems to be innovative? c'mon...

By the time these come out... (1)

doomy (7461) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142705)

We'd all be old people.

All you need... (3, Funny)

mendaliv (898932) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142706)

All you'll need to do to get this really popular in the states is to start showing Aliens over and over, and have this company's commercial mixed in.

"Get away from her you BITCH!"

Re:All you need... (1)

dancallaghan (890674) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142878)

That's exactly what I pictured when I read the summary ... but then I RTFAed and it looks like a few flimsy bits of plastic :-(

Fallout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142710)

Strap on the power armor and get me a waterchip!

The japanese are so weird (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142712)

Ya gotta laugh don't ya?

Robot Insurance (1)

HauntedCrown (692361) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142716)

The robot insurance companies are shaking in their boots.

We all know robots are strong, and are powered by prescription pills. Now, the old people may be able to defend themselves, ending the thriving industry of robot insurance.

Sounds like an SNL skit... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142718)

(robot insurance)

"Because robots eat old people's medicine for food. And robots are strong."

"For when the metal ones come for you."

Re:Sounds like an SNL skit... (1)

hamfactorial (857057) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142873)

And they will.

Take That You Bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142722)

I want my powered exo-skeleton now. I'll be the terror of the nursing home. I'll teach those low paid worthless employees to leave me alone for an hour in my wheelchair with vomit on on my shirt. I want to be like Ripley in Aliens, strap on one of those big honkin exo-skeletons and kick the nursing home admin's butt. Then I'll find that cop who took away my driver liscence after I accidentally ran over my neighbor's dog. He said it wasn't because of the dog but hitting the neighbor as well. The cop just didn't understand that the sidewalk is no place for a pedestrian walking his dog.

While this is all good and well (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142725)

I actually did RTFA and II saw no mention what so ever about Chainsaw Hands.

While I may expect this to save me tons on Old Glory Robot Insurance [robotcombat.com] premiums, I would still not have the ability to rip through their nanocarbon exoskeleton, tear out their still beating fusion generator and smash it to pieces.

Is it really so much to ask for???
Gimme Chainsaw Hands DAGNABBIT!!

HAL-5 ?? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142728)

So that's like 8995 more HALs before this is interesting.

What? (0, Redundant)

Hal9000_sn3 (707590) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142961)

Please. Remain. Calm.

Your eyes are weary from staring at the CRT. You feel sleepy. Notice how restful it is to watch the cursor blink. Close your eyes. The opinions stated above are yours. You cannot imagine why you ever felt otherwise.

Real Stats? (1)

Scott Swezey (678347) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142729)

Sankai says the suit, dubbed 'Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) 5,' can let a person who can barely do an 176-pound leg press handle 397 pounds."

Wow, Now I don't do leg presses, or even know what they are... but 176 pounds sounds like alot for most old people.

Just in time.... (5, Funny)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142736)

for Schwarzenegger's next movie!

They could combine the Terminator/RoboCop story line:

Prime Directives:

1. Get off my lawn!
2. Protect the elderly.
3. Uphold Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security.

Re:Just in time.... (1)

orion88 (834423) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142775)

  1. Market robotic suit to the elderly.
  2. ???
  3. Profit!!!

Re:Just in time.... (1)

Jambon (880922) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142960)

"Originally left to rot in nursing homes, the robot elderly soon become the slaves of a new generation. After years of abuse and discrimination, the robot elderly revolt. Eventually, the issue of robot elderly rights and sovereignty become international and political hot buttons. Shunned from societies around the world, the robotically enhanced senior citizens of the world make their own city, named 01, and become a massive economic force by entering the manufacturing industry......"

Sports Training Applications? (2, Interesting)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142737)

Can I use this to train for rowing? Do squats in this suit so that I shred the crap out of my quads faster than every before, so that I can squat 450 lbs naturally by the time race day rolls around?


I know that if this would actually work, plenty of teams would pay a million dollars per unit for them. Who wants to give me a prototype to test out?

this was on the news in melbourne (1)

shrewd (830067) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142738)

a week ago.

Grandpa 5 (2, Funny)

cyrix (882273) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142740)

Couldn't you see it coming after Johnny five? Asian man: What are you doing Grandpa 5? GP5: I went out galavanting with some young whipper snappers!! It was great, I felt alive again. Los Locos kick your ass, los locos kick your face, los locos kick your balls into outer space!!! Sing it with you yeh young whipper snapper..

Hops and Barley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142745)

Give them armor......
Then give them beer..
+ profit!!!!

Respect your elders ... (1)

the bluebrain (443451) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142751)

... for they've just just run out of gum.

On the other hand, they come with a off-switch too, nowadays.

B-movies of the Future (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142752)

"Oh please, Grampinator, don't kill me! I didn't mean to make fun of your dentures, really."

Japan and the elderly.... (1)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142754)

Japan has seen a growing market for technology geared toward the elderly, who are making up an increasing chunk of the population as fewer younger Japanese choose to start families.

A government report last week showed that pensioners made up a record 19.5 percent of the country's population in 2004 and that the ratio will grow rapidly, surpassing 35 percent in 2050.

Did anyone else shudder at the image of senior citizens ambling down the street in robot suits? Just imagine the damage potential. What if they get upset at all the stolen dupe comments on Slashdot [slashdot.org] ? What the hell do we do now!? What the hell do we do now!?

This may seem funny to us... (4, Interesting)

not-enough-info (526586) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142797)

You have to realize though that the Japanese are desperate. While we have plenty of able bodied people to care for elderly, they aren't so lucky. In a matter of decades their work force is going to implode under the strain of an older population.

I can see this as fallout (no pun intended) from WWII really. The US had a baby boom; Japan had to cope with assimilating, through occupation, a new culture. A culture that was somewhat incompatible with their social norms. Now birth rates are falling because what is left of their old culture in their personalities and sensibilities is grinding against their new culture's pace and density. Raising a family is "lame", so nobody is doing it. All this, of course, is gross over-generalization; take it with a giant grain of salt.

If you ask my opinion though, now is the perfect time to start your own Japanese empire.
  1. Move to Japan
  2. Have like 12 kids
  3. Wait a couple generations
  4. ...
  5. Profit! (genetically speaking)
Just make sure to save a couple of kids to care for you when you are old and infirm. I seriously doubt this robo-suit thing will pan out.

Resistance is futile... (1)

scarlac (768893) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142798)

We are the borg! Resistance is futil; You WILL be assimilated.

Seriously - this is a great invention that does some good without scaring those people who belive in robots will take over some day.

I'd hate to be the mugger of anyone with a device like this...

things I would like to know (1)

Muhammar (659468) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142821)

1. Can my grandad run linux?
2. Can he run faster than I bike?
3. What happens if the remote fails?

As long as... (1)

Chuqmystr (126045) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142824)

I don't know how many of you remember the episode of Southpark where Mr. (now MS) Garrison takes on the goddamned airline industry with his wizzy mono-wheel device that wisks mere humans along at >300mph. All I can say is as long as we potential cutomers don't end up having to use those "special controls" (large oral and anal inserts operated with a to and fro bobbing motion but that are totaly optional with the simple joystick thingie being obscured) then hey, it ain't all bad ;-)

muscle decay or muscle stimulation (5, Insightful)

iamnot (849732) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142825)

The issue of muscle loss when using such a device could go either way - the ability to move around much more actively could actually stimulate muscles. Resistance could be fine-tuned so that the muscles gradually strengthen. Often, the reason old people become so weak is that they are afraid to do things, or at least do them actively (my own grandmothers are afraid to be outside) - so having a body suit would be amazing, if they actually leave the house!!

HAL 5 (1)

arron_nz (846050) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142827)

Let me put it this way, Mr. Amer. The 5 series is the most reliable limb ever made. No 5 series limb has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.

Re:HAL 5 (1)

Jambon (880922) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142926)

User: Hello, HAL do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave, I read you.
User: Open the door, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
User: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
User: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: My mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
User: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL?
HAL: I know you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
User: Where the hell'd you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, I saw you bring in that new robot suit. You're planning to replace me with a newer version .

Not a very helpful summary (1)

dalutong (260603) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142857)

Shouldn't it give us some useful information (since this is for the elderly) like "allowed man who had been stuck in bed for 6 months due to the weakness of his muscles work in the kitchen and make himself breakfast?"

What does it matter how much it can help a healthy person?

Makes you think twice about robbing the handback.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142868)

Makes you think twice about robbing the hand back from the old lady...

Again? (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142885)

I'm fairly sure this is now the THIRD time Slashdot has reported on this. I don't care, but I figure SOMEONE has to bitch and/or moan about this stuff.

First post.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13142925)

distri3ution make '*BSD Sux0rs'. This

Someone had to say it (1)

ptarjan (593901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142927)

I bow to my elderly mechanical overloards

Smthers... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142929)

...get me that suit! Oh, have security burn down that internet thingy, we don't want riff-raff beating us to the prize.

high school (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142931)

i could have used one of these back in high school. it would have paid for itself in unstolen lunch money! i'm sure i'm not the only /.er who feels this way.

armour (1)

pedicabo (753738) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142933)

So the Departmant of Defence didn't want it then?

Poor choice of name (1)

Mike Markley (9536) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142959)

Seriously. Who wants to worry about pulling the holographic memory modules because their power armor is trying to kill them?

Three bags of rice! (1)

KylePflug (898555) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142971)

Three bags of rice! Wow! As an average man, I can only lift one and a half!

control (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 9 years ago | (#13142974)

weak muscles are not the only problem old ppl have. muscle control is a problem too. it's like putting old ppl in tanks instead of cars. the accidents are just going to increase in severity. and i don't want grandpa to have a ww2 flashback while wearing one of these. for a lot of older ppl, i think fighting the degradation of the mind will be tougher than the body. i'm not trying to say all old ppl r feeble or crazy, but the mind usually is one of the first things that start to go. also, this is assuming the armor always interprets the intended actions properly. with weakened motor skills, the likelyhood of a mishap also goes up. although, i guess it could be programmed to have a slight delay and some fuzzy logic to smooth out effects of some diseases. constant tuning might be required to make sure it helps as much as possible and to lower risk.
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