Exoskeletons Are on the March

Cyberdyne is shipping nearly 100 more exoskeletons this fall

2 min read

17 August 2009—An army of exoskeletons is coming. And according to their inventor, Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai of the University of Tsukuba, in Japan, they’re making a difference in the lives of disabled people.

Speaking at the International Conference on Intelligent Robotic Technology and Business, held earlier this month in Taipei, Taiwan, Sankai proudly described how the robotic exoskeleton suit HAL (short for Hybrid Assistive Limb), helped a 46-year-old man whose left leg was withered by polio when he was 11 months old.

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How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page
Blue

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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