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Exoskeletons in IEEE Spectrum

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the robots-are-cool dept.

Robotics 124

Rob the Bold writes "October IEEE Spectrum magazine (print and online) reports on worldwide developments in exoskeleton technology. Applications include mobility for the disabled, increased lifting power for cargo loaders and nurses, and faster running capability. Developments in the US, Europe and Asia are reviewed." From the article: "Today, in Japan and the United States, engineers are finally putting some practical exoskeletons through their paces outside of laboratories. But don't look for these remarkable new systems to bust bricks or spew lightning. The very first commercially available exoskeleton, scheduled to hit the market in Japan next month, is designed to help elderly and disabled people walk, climb stairs, and carry things around. Built by Cyberdyne Inc., in Tsukuba, Japan, this exoskeleton, called HAL-5, will cost about 1.5 million yen (around US $13 800)."

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Fate tempting choice of names (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748730)

The company's called Cyberdyne and the exoskeleton is called HAL? I think I know where this is going ...

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (5, Funny)

Lucractius (649116) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748754)


Asta La Vista, Davey...

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748850)

Asta La Vista, Davey...

Those kind of jokes are not funny when you live in California.
     

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (1)

cnerd2025 (903423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749595)

"Ve vill terminate Gray Davis in CAL-ee-FOR-nya. Hasta la vista, Davie!"

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750669)

Those kind of jokes are not funny when you live in California.

They're funny, just not 'ha ha' funny.

I'd venture to say they're 'ja ja' funny, but that wouldn't be funny. ;)

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748962)

not to nitpick, but asta la vista is a "security" web site.

you mean "H"asta la vista.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=asta+la+vista [google.com]

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=hasta+la+vist a [google.com]

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749184)

not to nitpick

Too late...

Don't worry (3, Funny)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748771)

Don't worry, this is just HAL-5. They still have 8995 versions to go through before it gets really dangerous.

RMN
~~~

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748827)

"Dave, pull my finger"

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (3, Funny)

utnow (808790) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748963)

It's simply a Hardware Abstration Layer for old people. To make them easier to interface with.

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749506)

*ROTFL*

Re:Fate tempting choice of names (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750572)

Yeah - we all know the punch line:

"...is designed to help elderly and disabled people walk, climb stairs, carry things around and search for Sarah Connor."

Interesting (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748732)

So, so many times have I said "If I only had an exoskeleton, I could ward off these feral Oliphants". I wonder if there will be dealer financing...

made by cyberdyne (2, Funny)

siewsk (603269) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748733)

T E R M I N A T O R

Cyberdyne Series 101 Terminator Endoskeleton
Height: 1.8 meters
DEX: 4D+2
Blaster 6D, Brawling Parry 5D, Firearms 6D, Grenade 6D,
Melee Combat 6D, Melee Parry 5D
KNO: 3D
Scholar: Human Anatomy 8D, Survival: Wasteland 6D,
Languages 10D, Intimidation 7D,
Scholar: Cyberdyne Systems 6D
MEC: 3D+2
Ground Vehicle Operation 6D
PER: 3D
Investigation 7D, Search 8D
STR: 6D
Brawling 8D, Climbing/Jumping 7D, Lifting 8D, Stamina 8D
TEC: 3D+2
Blaster Repair 6D, Firearms Repair 6D, Demolition 7D,
First Aid 6D, Ground Vehicle Repair 6D, Security, 7D
Move: 11
Equipped with:
Humanoid Construction
Vocabulator
Enhanced Visual Receptors (+2D to any sight-based action)
Adaptive Learning Circuitry
Life Support Circuitry: Power source and/or CPU must be shut
down/destroyed before a terminator will stop hunting
Disadvantages:
Dogs bark at the smell of a terminator.

No, no, no, wrong movie. (1)

mcc (14761) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749163)

Didn't you read the article summary? This robot is going to be used to help "elderly and disabled people walk, climb stairs, and carry things around".

Therefore, clearly the movie one ought to be referencing here is "Roujin Z".

WE'RE GOING TO THE BEEEEEEAAAAAAAACHHHHHHH!!!!

Re:No, no, no, wrong movie. (1)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749311)

Or M.A.N.T.I.S., starring Carl Lumbly of Alias and Buckaroo Banzai fame.

Probably a bad example since his batteries could never hold a charge for a whole episode...

Sigh. (2, Insightful)

picz plz (915164) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748734)

Another technology that will increase the cost of medical care, which will increase the demand for socialized care, that will increase the taxes I and everyone else has to pay.

Re:Sigh. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748769)

And clearly your tax rate is more important than anyone's well-being.

Re:Sigh. (0, Offtopic)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748824)

And clearly your tax rate is more important than anyone's well-being.

So, your concern for everyone else's well-being trumps his concern for his taxes?

Re:Sigh. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748838)

He's likely the kind of person who would bitch and moan the most about wanting affordable health care, paid for by the government of course, when he's an old feeble geezer.

Re:Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749161)

Well, yeah, after all, he's paid for everyone else's at that point, why should he not get something in return.
Duh.

Re:Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749057)

It is for me. Everyone else can go to hell.

Re:Sigh. (1)

EtherealStrife (724374) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749782)

I opt for Soylent HMO! Reduce world hunger while simultaneously reducing the amount of $$$ that's taken out of my paycheck. Who can argue with that? ('think of it grandpa, now you can finally attain your life long dream of ending world hunger!')

Re:Sigh. (5, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748772)

Will it really increase the cost, however? I mean, it costs far more for a nurse to care for an elderly patient. If the patients can care for themselves, then that reduces the number of nurses required. I would be inclined to say that a nurse costs far more than $14000, and you have to keep paying each nurse's salary each year! Devices like these may works for many years, perhaps even with minimal upkeep costs. Thus your taxes may very well decrease because of technology such as this.

Re:Sigh. (3, Funny)

k_187 (61692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748808)

yeah, until all the cybernetic octogenerians decide to TAKE OVER THE WORLD

Re:Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748991)

In Japan, only old people use exoskeletons.

Re:Sigh. (1)

Anthony (4077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749061)

Flamebait? From where will this post lure flames?

Re:Sigh. (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748855)

But robots and old people are natural enemies. Robots eat old people's medicine for fuel!

Re:Sigh. (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748878)

Instead of these costly solutions we should just turn the elderly and disabled into Soylent Green.

Re:Sigh. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749904)

Will it really increase the cost, however? I mean, it costs far more for a nurse to care for an elderly patient.

Yes, and not only that but most of the western world is on the verge of a massive shift in age distribution. From 2010 to 2050 there will be extremely many more elders, and far fewer in the work force. Manhours are likely to become excessively expensive. It is not just the shift itself, but all the indirect consequences. We will need a lot more healthcare personnel and related services, and both they and the eldery still need all the standard "support" services as well. I'll show you (Norway):

2005: 13% elderly, workforce 60%, healthcare sector 16% of workforce.
2020: 16% elderly, workforce 60%, healthcare sector 21% of workforce.
2050: 22% elderly, workforce 55%, healthcare sector ??% of workforce.

Taking a kind approach, 21% * 1.22/1.16 * 0.60/0.55 = 24%. That leaves 0.55*0.76 = 42% of the population to do everything else. It's actually much worse than that because not only are tne elder getting more, but also elder and more expensive to treat. The workforce have more elder people, who are more likely to have invalid benefits, work part-time and so on. The average education is getting longer. The economy will suffer horribly trying to pay for all that, and I'm sure you noticed there weren't surplus workers to improve that.

In short, I think anyone who is able to mechanize any significant part of healthcare is looking to make a killing over the next few decades. We have an oil fund of $100 billon+ for a country of less than 5 million people, and the prognosis up to 2020 is that we're doing ok. What nobody wants to talk about is that in the next 30 years after that, it's getting even worse with no increase in income. China is coming up with their one-child policy. There's litterally billions of people in the long-term market.

WIll lower the costs (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748888)

These devices will end up in warehouses for moving heavy cargo. Sure you can use a forklift, but these will probably cost a fraction of one and be able to pick up ~ 1/4 the weight. That is the space where 1-2 men carry things around, and get bad backs all the time.

Re:WIll lower the costs (1)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748920)

Moving heavy cargo...

Yup. Large metal crates, heat-seeking missiles for gunships, alien queens...

Re:WIll lower the costs (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749207)

You still have to worry about balance with these suits. Try to lift a 1000 pound palette with one of these and you'll soon find yourself laying on top of it.

Re:WIll lower the costs (2, Interesting)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749988)

Probably, unless (and this is going out on a limb here) the floor of the warehouse has 'sockets' at regular intervals into which the feet of a PExS can fit. An ideal location would be loading bays, so that forklifts or other warehouse systems can move crates to the bay, then a human with his exoskeleton attached to the floor would have a solid base to move objects from, as well as finer control offered by the fact he is within the suit himself.

Either that or big electromagnets in the feet. Alternatively they could all make like clowns and have oversized feet.

Can you say Terminator (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748737)

If this didn't have IEEE all over it, I'd have thought that was a joke? Cyberdyne Inc, HAL?

Let the jokes begin

Re:Can you say Terminator (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748841)

If this didn't have IEEE all over it, I'd have thought that was a joke? Cyberdyne Inc, HAL?

No, "IEEE" is the squeal you make when it badly malfunctions.
     

Re:Can you say Terminator (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749359)

No, "IEEE" is the squeal you make when it badly malfunctions.

I thought that was the Kia guy?

Cyberdyne? The 800 model or the t1000? (1, Funny)

EQ (28372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748738)

Watch out when they start moving on their own looking for skynet...

Re:Cyberdyne? The 800 model or the t1000? (1)

SpaceJunkie (579366) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750302)

Watch out when you start getting suspicious work units for seti@home! Skynet is all around us...

Boink + WiFi = Superintelligent massive collaborative network, universally accessible, ripe for a machine intelligence to take...

Ironman!! (-1, Troll)

wnholmes (811268) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748740)

First post!

Re:Ironman!! (1)

Yehooti (816574) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748784)

Sounds like a super assist for my arthritic joints. Sure don't want to have to be an ironman simply to wear one. Have to wonder though, how big and heavy is the battery I'll have to carry? What happens after the battery dies and I'm jaunting about five miles from home? Can I plug in at a recharge center nearby? It is a grin to always see new things that are just beyond our reach, but things our grand kids will not believe have always existed.

Two sci-fi references from one company? (3, Insightful)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748742)

Wow, how did that slip through marketing?
Cyberdyne Systems [wikipedia.org]
HAL [wikipedia.org]

Re:Two sci-fi references from one company? (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748793)

Wow, how did that slip through marketing?

It didn't. They are simply fulfilling their destiny. Tell me, the logical next step after an exoskeleton is what?

That's right. They don't "spew lightning"... yet.

Re:Two sci-fi references from one company? (3, Funny)

halowolf (692775) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748860)

Having worked as a progtammer for marketing deparments, I can assure you that such oversights is the normal operating procedure.

Cyberdyne??? (1)

Slashdiddly (917720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748743)

I think they called it that to increase their chances to be visited by terminator and gain major competitive advantage.

We need to hold off on exoskeleton research... (3, Funny)

dummyname12 (886454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748744)

...and start putting more money into space exploration. Afterall, what good is an exoskeleton without the giant alien queen to fight with it?

Werecome (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748750)

I for one welcome our senior Japanese Cyborg overlords.

Re:Werecome (0, Offtopic)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748809)

I for one welcome our senior Japanese Cyborg overlords.

Plus we can cluster them so that they have the strength to rip a hole in people's asses. But please don't post pictures of such, you insensative clod!
           

That's just what Japan needs: rampaging cyborgs (2, Funny)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749227)

You gotta wonder who's the fucking Einstein who decided to equip the elderly with robotic ninja superpowers. When I was working as a hapless waiter at Denny's years ago, I thought I had I bad whenever one of those geezers would start ranting about the "good old days" and "whatever happened to service?" if their bowl of oatmeal wasn't cooked just right or their order was a few minutes late. Now we're going to have to worry about them going on a rampage and destroying the city. Christ, the Japanese are probably going to have to call in Godzilla to pacify the robots instead of vice-versa! You'd think the Japanese of all people would know better than this.

GMD

Yep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748764)

I for one welcome our new elderly exoskeleton enhanced overlords...

cybernetic retirees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748765)

I for one welcome our cybernetic retiree overlords. It's time we young whipper-snappers get ours. Rather than with an umbrella and a mild concussion, grandma can now deal out crushed skulls at her whim!

Eeek! (2, Funny)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748767)

Earlier today, we had a story here about autonomous robot cars [slashdot.org] .

Now this.

That does it. I'm buying lots of big guns and moving to the Mojave Desert.

Re:Eeek! (4, Funny)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748795)

You picked the worst possible place. Read the article you linked to. The robots already know how to navigate the Mojave Desert!.

Re:Eeek! (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749015)

Maybe he should move to the city. Then, the police will have to stop every other car in the vicinity when a robot moves around. They'll never get anywhere.

Re:Eeek! (2, Funny)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749839)

In the real 21st century, the robot reads your intentions out of the Slashdot archive, cross references your name to your email with google, uses your email to retrieve your credit record and postal address, enters your zipcode into google maps, spots your fortified compound in a satellite photo, and turns up at the door disguised as a travelling salesman for exactly the brand of Russian marital aids for which your purchase histoy shows such fondness.

I call bs... (4, Informative)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748779)

Just check out their website: http://www.cyberdyne.jp/ENG/ [cyberdyne.jp] . Looks like an amateur hack...
The photos indicate the all important GLOWING RING JOINTS on the exoskeleton, no doubt the first feature to be implemented. If you look at the corporate info, the company was founded in June of 2004, and has a capital of 10M JPY.. which looks big at first sight, until you consider it's just a little under 90k USD. Looks to me as if they're pulling our leg, especially considering how little real info there is here. I won't even get in to the no doubt intentionally comedic naming of the company and its "product". Also check out this pic: http://www.cyberdyne.jp/Image/sakurai_double.JPG [cyberdyne.jp] , yeah.. that exoskeleton is definitely necessary to lift a 90 lb. Japanese girl..

Re:I call bs... (1)

koko775 (617640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748883)

Judging from the picture on their site, I remember seeing this in a NewScientist issue. I don't think it's a hoax, or if it *is* one then they've done a very good job at making all appearances seem otherwise. As for the glowing joints...what? A (potentially) good product with a good designer? Only Apple does that!

Good Call (2, Interesting)

clark625 (308380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748967)

I tend to agree with you on this one. I'm not about to say that an exoskeleton wouldn't be cool, or even handy. It's long been a desire for humans to lift/carry more weight for longer distances, etc.

Anyway, this particular system wouldn't support a person without control over their lower limbs. For one, the weight distribution for the person is all at the waist and upper thighs. If we were to say that the handicapped individual is extremely light at a mere 80lbs, he or she still would be too heavy to hold vertical for extended periods of time via the waist and upper thighs. I don't even want to imagine how torn up the skin would get. Heck, an improperly configured rucksack of just 50lbs on my back for just a couple of hours will give me two deep wounds about 2"x6" and they will be sore for over a week. And they want to hold a person up, supported, without any weight being supported by the obvious candidate: the butt. Of course, that's why wheelchairs are so effective.

As for the other application, such as holding increased weight... well, this one is actually a little more practical, but it's got a bunch more problems--and the same thing keeps cropping up: how do you get all that added weight to be distributed AROUND the body instead of through it via the person's bones and muscles? Truth is, it's really difficult. It's especially difficult when the person goes to lift--the motors, joints, and structure has to be "thinking" ahead of the person and move into the proper load-bearing position without throwing itself and the person off-balance. Impossible? No. Current reality? Doubtful.

If this particular skeleton supports extra weight at all, I would suspect the joints are all similar to my folding latter's joints that can lock into place and become very rigid. Then, just get the weight into a supported position (by lifting it up yourself), and then the skeleton can be locked in to give you rest. Balance is handled by the person. Add some flash for potential venture capitalists, and you're done. Too easy.

And by the way.... just where is/are the battery(ies)? Nevermind, this thing's got perpetual motion installed, I'm sure.

Re:Good Call (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749835)

And by the way ... just where is/are the battery(ies)?"

BWUHa Ha Ha HA hAAAAA
These aren't Exoskeletons at all ... No, they're Eeeevil ROBOTS that are powered by humans. Once the Robot has drained the human "power-cell", it is discarded and a new one is plumbed in.

"To Serve Humans" indeed! ... Hasn't ANYONE thought of the children!

Re:I call bs... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749081)

Notice too in the picture that the supposed load-bearing structure of the device ends at the ankle rather than transfering the downward force of a load to the floor. Not what I would call structurally sound design.

Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749244)

Don't make that call yet, check the whole site. He links to the research lab at the Japanese university where this technology was created. The site also explains that the Cyberdine company was founded to produce the equipment and further research. It is effectively a branch program of the university, the way I understand it. This would explain the low capital. Also, check out the videos from news sources. I don't speak Japanese so I can't tell if they are exoskeleton videos tied pasted into news stories about politics, but it looks legit. I could be wrong, though; after all, I _was_ born yesterday. :)

I *wouldn't* call BS - just yet (1)

Silicon_Knight (66140) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749287)

If you look closely at the second picture that you linekd to, http://www.cyberdyne.jp/Image/sakurai_double.JPG [cyberdyne.jp] - you can see two things.

A) The demo was held at the World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. All the robots that were demoed there were functional to various degrees (some are commercially available, some are lab prototypes, but they all were functional - no funky mockups). I know this because I was there (http://erinandterencetravels.blogspot.com/2005/09 /back-in-tokyo.html [blogspot.com] ) and I recognize exactly where in the EXPO that would be demoed at. That was demoed at the Robot Station, in the kid's zone.

B) The sticker on the Endoskeleton's thigh is for NEDO - New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (http://www.nedo.go.jp/english/ [nedo.go.jp] ). This is Japan's largest public R&D management organization. They are the equivalent of the NSF (http://www.nsf.gov/ [nsf.gov] ) in the US of A. Hardly the guys to sponsor amateur hacks.

Re:I call bs... (1)

Fluff the Tiger (700346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749920)

actually, as already mentioned the thing is sponsored by a division of the Japanese government, I doubt it's a hoax. Also, the other pictures are of HAL-3, the old model. The new model, HAL-5, does extend the exoskeleton to the ground: http://www.cyberdyne.jp/Image/system_conf_2005.jpg [cyberdyne.jp]

joking aside... (1)

SpectralDesign (921309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750113)

...I for one have been eagerly anticipating this technology, as my son must cope with muscular-dystrophy, and this could provide a way for him to get out of his wheel-chair. Now if they could get the price down to 3-4,000 dollars Canadian, I might even find a way to afford it!

Anyone else worried about.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748780)

Anyone else worried about the name? Hal? "Pick up groceries", Hal-5: "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

But when... (3, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748785)

Does the liquid metal version come out?

Think of the storage space needed and time to strap the suit on. I want to just pour it over me and start hunting John Con--er carrying heavy loads at work.

Re:But when... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748819)

Does the liquid metal version come out?

Only if you fall into a volcano while wearing one. But don't because if you do you will trigger the legal department to put tags on all future models:

"Warning: do not rip this tag off and do not wonder near active volcanos".

Everytime somebody does something stupid with a product, it produces a new warning tag. (Hmmmm. I wonder if too many warning tags poses a danger of snagging?)
         

Exoskeletons? (1)

gaanagaa (784648) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748786)

Exoskeletons? I thought this technology was invented millions of years ago!

Unavoidable, obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748787)

I, for one, welcome our new exoskeleton overlords!

Possibly not vapor[hard]ware (4, Insightful)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748813)

designed to help elderly and disabled people walk, climb stairs, and carry things around.

My 91 year old grandmother's being issued a walker was a blow to her pride and quality of life. She's in a home where they keep an eye on you, help you pee and take meds. They try to make sure she uses her walker, but there are times when she is alone in her room at night, probably loaded on bourbon, and she tries to make it to the bathroom without her walker. She's fallen multiple times doing this, the last time breaking her pelvis.

Now if these Japanese could make a device to protect the health of loved ones, especially the uncooperative flavor, that they are more inclined to use because it isn't as big a pain in the ass as her walker and the like, you'd see them export even more goods.

The last Japanese themed article I read on slashdot was about some stupid heat efficient automatic door thing, and like a lot of people, it struck me as vapor that ain't gonna happen. Here this may not be the case because there is potentially strong demand from people like me to pull this through enough R&D to get in finally into the market. I'm not the only one with a 91 year old grandma with a strong appreciation of whiskey. Go Japan.

Re:Possibly not vapor[hard]ware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749071)

Now if these Japanese could make a device to protect the health of loved ones, especially the uncooperative flavor, that they are more inclined to use because it isn't as big a pain in the ass as her walker and the like, you'd see them export even more goods.

Furthermore, they'll be able to punch insolent youngsters. Isn't that the point of robotic exoskeletons anyway? Increased face-punching power?

"Oh god, please don't make me armwrestle you again, grandma!" *sobbing*

Re:Possibly not vapor[hard]ware (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749079)

It strikes me as extremely odd that an assisted living/nursing home would allow its residents (innmates?) access to alcohol.

Re:Possibly not vapor[hard]ware (1)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749280)

They let her have a few water downed ounces of it in the evening, but they don't let her keep the bottle. Without bourbon what is there to live for? Thanks for reminding me, gonna grab my jim beam.

Re:Possibly not vapor[hard]ware (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749355)

Without bourbon what is there to live for?

sex?

Re:Possibly not vapor[hard]ware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749530)

Notice he said 91 year old grandmother. You might be stretching it just a _little_ bit here.

Re:Possibly not vapor[hard]ware (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749847)

Notice he said 91 year old grandmother. You might be stretching it just a _little_ bit here

*cough*

Re:Possibly not vapor[hard]ware (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750430)

Without bourbon what is there to live for?

Single malt scotch =D

why havent you killed her yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13750351)

put the bitch out her damn misery

Pun Intended (2, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748825)

If a closet [wikipedia.org] is "a small, enclosed storage space in a house or building", then are we talking about exoskeletons in the IEEE eClosets?

Marketing (1)

Vonotar82 (859920) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748858)

I wonder if this is a stroke of marketing genius to target the tech-friendly nerd culture or simply the result of a very misguided exectutive? I shudder to think about the possible commercials...

Starting to get there (4, Interesting)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748931)

As I've mentioned in previous /. postings, I did work on powered prosthetics back in the mid-late 70's. The two big holdbacks were power and feedback control. They seem to be making progress with the development of nickel-metal hydyide and lithium battery packs. Feedback: kinesthetics (the intuative ability to know where your body parts are), and balance will continue to be challanges. It takes a human being up to several years to be able to walk. Even longer to develop agility for complex tasks such as throwing a ball. Perhaps self-modifying programs capable of "learning", so-called genetic algorythms would be helpfull. Development of robots like Honda's Asimo face similar developmental problems and great progress has been made.

Re:Starting to get there (2, Interesting)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749910)

(the intuative ability to know where your body parts are)

Well when you think about it, a car is just an exoskeleton really, and we can manage to drive them around without too much trouble. I doubt maneuvering a real exo around will be any more difficult than wearing a coat two sizes too large...

The possibilities are endless... (1)

0xC2 (896799) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748932)

I can see Bob Dole hawking his exoskeleton on TV. Ahhhhrgh, just scorched my retinas on that visual! Can't find the preview button, darned mouse...

t+aco (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748934)

Have sMo8ebody just

I want one (2, Funny)

tsotha (720379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13748965)

Oh, but not for granny to carry her groceries. I want one so I can carry this [fas.org] .

Re:I want one (1)

SpaceJunkie (579366) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750253)

Hmmm.. "even in Death I serve"

I am just imagining the horror of any slashdot minion in control of a dreadnaught... News bytes like "cut a swathe of destruction through redmond" come to mind..

Can it help.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13748998)

fight the Alien Queen. Or at least move cargo boxs.

As long as we're poke fun with movies.

no one said it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749053)

can't believe there aren't any variations of "Get away from her you BITCH!" yet.

in soviet alien world, EXO skeletons YOU!

Too bad ... (1)

Rapid Supreme 17 (916052) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749206)

"But don't look for these remarkable new systems to bust bricks or spew lightning."

That's exactly what I've been looking for. I guess I'll have to wait for the next version :-(

Strange Coincidence -- "Cyberdyne" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749602)

The weird thing is that for a project in a technical writing class two years ago (2002), I wrote a report on exoskeletons. It was more about the writing practice than being "factual." What did we call our company? Cyberdyne Systems. We thought it was hilarious. Plenty of other inside jokes in that paper.

"Strap-on Strength -- Exoskeleton Feasability"
Report [nyud.net]
Presentation [nyud.net] :

my bad, 3 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13749631)

2 + 2 = 5 for large values of 2.

Cargo loaders.. (1)

Borg453b (746808) | more than 8 years ago | (#13749845)

.. sure, dismiss it as a yet another boring technological appliance thatll probably never see the light of day..

But when the time comes for Ripley to fight the queen, we had better have invented those.. or else its game over - game over man!.

next version (1)

spepper (872636) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750047)

as soon as someone figures out how to apply carbon nanotube technology to exoskeleton technology, for artificial muscle tissue, that will be the next leap forward in that area of science-- that would seem like a logical application of nanotubes, if they can be built like nano-sized "maglev trains", which can move back and forth, therefore allowing for controllable "shape shifting" within the structure of its intended device (artificial muscle)--

Re:next version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13750518)

It already exists; do a search for "muscle wire" some time. No nanotubes required; it's basically a fancy metal alloy that uses tiny coils to mimic muscle action. It actually works pretty well, it's cheap, and it's common in robotic applications where other kind of actuators are too bulky (think robotic flies).

Popular Mechanics circa 1962 (2, Informative)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750096)

There was an article about various sorts of exoskeleton, including actual photohraphs of one with a human being inside it, and it was doing heavy cargo lifting... the article said they were developed for the US Army.

I was only a kid at the time, and soon forgot all about it.

Then I saw Alien 2 or 3 whichever it was, and Ripley gets into this big yellow exoskeleton, and I was instantly zapped back to being a small boy reading pop mechanics and seeing pictures of a human being in a damn near identical construct.***

"Aaaah" I thought, "the special effects guys are my age and read PM too"

I really cannot be any more accurate about the date, but I can recall other articles in the same time period, the flying car, the PM 38 speedboat (which my dad built), which might be enough for a PM buff to trace it.

So really this is not news, or even new, it's 40+ years old and predates the Apollo program.

*** I grew up to be an engineer, like my dad, and now I understand that compared to a cargo lifter of wheels, eg a fork lift, all these exoskeleton designs will be horribly inefficient mechanically and far more expensive to make and maintain, so no conspiracy theory needed to explain why they are hidden away in area 51 and on the sekret moon base

improved running speeds? (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 8 years ago | (#13750321)

How long before these will replace cars as personal transportation devices? Are we going to have to start getting licensed on how to use them just so that we wouldn't "run into each other" at 35mph?
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