Cybernics — it’s not a typo, it’s a completely new field that mixes cybernetics, mechatronics, and informatics with an all-human core. Pioneered by Tsukuba Univeristy designer Yoshiyuki Sankai, the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exosuit originally created to aid Japan’s eldery has now found an even nobler mission — assisting disabled tourists. Through detection of weak muscular bioelectrical impulses in the legs, this RoboCop-like lower body suit boosts its wearer’s load-bearing abilities by a whopping 176 pounds. The exoskeleton tech first helped paralyzed Seiji Uchida nearly tackle Switzerland’s Breithorn peak in 2006 and is now getting another go at the disabled traveler’s bucket list. This time ’round, Uchida hopes his ride atop a HAL-outfitted human will successfully carry him to the top of Normandy’s rugged Mont Saint-Michel, paving the way for other similarly handicapped travelers to do the same. Although the robotics in question here is more mech suit than say, dental training real doll, it’s still a huge leg up for the nascent research industry that got its kick-start making a wish come true.
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