Intel has published a pair of videos showcasing the work of a Japanese firm called Cyberdyne. Cyberdyne's main product, HAL, is described as "the world's first cyborg-type robot," which enables wearer body functions to be improved, supported and enhanced.
HAL, which stands for 'Hybrid Assistive Limb', is seen enabling a previously paralysed surfing enthusiast to stand, walk and to move his arms. The injured man's life changed one day when a vehicle knocked him off his bicycle and he longs to enjoy movement again, particularly surfing. Doctors told the man that he would never walk again.
The HAL robot uses an array of sensors to detect what the wearer wants to do. Cyberdyne's scientist Dr Yoshiyuki Sankai says that when people wish to move the brain sends an electrical pulse to the limb(s) – and the sensors used by HAL can pick these signals up from the skin and action them in real-time. Processing is done via a built-in computer system powered by a humble Intel Atom.
With continued use of HAL, Cyberdyne says that users tune the way they think to make their powered movement better. Of course HAL isn't only for the injured, it will also be leveraged in task support, for heavy lifting work in factories, or for rescue activities at disaster sites, for example.