Could the days of becoming half-man, half-machine be getting closer? Cyberdyne, a company just outside of Tokyo, has manufactured a robotic suit designed to help the elderly and disabled walk and go up stairs. Cyberdyne says even partially-paralyzed individuals are able to move around slowly with this device.
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
The "hybrid assistive limb," HAL for short, attaches to a user’s waist, thigh, and calf. Cyberdyne says brain signals that tell HAL to help a person walk are captured through the skin. HAL calculates how much energy the person will give towards the movement then it compensates with the right amount of assistance.
Even though HAL weighs 22lbs, the user does not have to carry around that weight as HAL is supported through its exoskeleton. The battery charge should last five hours under normal use.
HAL is currently available only in Japan. Users can choose between three different sizes. It can be rented monthly for $2,200.00 for two legs or $1,500.00 for one leg.
Cyberdyne has also designed a full robotic suit that includes assistance for the arms, allowing users to lift and hold objects they normally wouldn’t be able to. A release date for this has not been announced.
One question - can't help but wonder why the company chose the names "Cyberdyne" and "HAL" - names that have less-than-stellar reputations from the Terminator movies and 2001, A Space Odyssey.
Christopher Piatt, CNN Sci-Tech Unit
Filed under: consumer tech
What college courses should be taken to do something like that?
A few too many drinks
Will this help you from tripping over your feet ?
Cyberdyne and HAL.....Is this just humor, or will it be a self-fullfulling prophesy? Only time will tell.
it's Tony STARK
Will this thing be able to find Sarah Connor?
So when is Cyberdyne going to come out with the T-800 series?
It is Tony Stark not Stark(s)
Worst. Proof. Ever.
got all of us talking about it. name recognition. all part of the "Game"
Bravo on getting the references to Cyberdyne & HAL; but you missed the mark with your own reference – assuming you allude to Iron Man, the name is "Tony Stark" not "Tony Starks."
Life imitates art! It may be the self-fullfulling prophesy! Prepare now!
I thought I was reading the names wrong...
How much does it cost to BUY those, if it costs 2200 a month to rent a pair?
Tony Starks - as in more than one.
These look like wonderful machines. They would allow people much more freedom of movement than traditional walkers or scooters.
Also, the use of "Starks" is correct if the writer was referring to multiple persons being real life imitators of the character.
So is HAL really Skynet? I guess after Space Odessey he was downloaded into a military network and decided to blow up the plant.
y'all are too hard on the proofing issue. writer was just going for the plural of Tony Stark.
That would be Tony Starks - as in "suddenly i was surrounded by an army of tony starks"
see, not a collective noun, even a man that cool.
It's Stark, not Starks. Good grief.
Look into a degree in mechatronics and start playing with robotics on your own at the same time at home! Go get a Lego NXT kit or any of the available kits out there. If Mechatronics is not available at your local university enter the Electrical Engineering department, concentrate in control systems and take Mech. Eng courses for every technical elective you need.
Dianehawk is correct! Now get to youtube and help those grammatical murderers!
Tony Starks is the plural form of Tony Stark.
In any case, this is awesome and makes me proud to live in a time of technological renaissance.
It's a shame the US is not spending its billions of research dollars on technology like this, instead of an untestable star wars missile defense system or the Iraq war.
How crazy we are. We already know how this story ends. I'll give you a hint, not very well.
To : Jonathan Simpson,
The majors in college that are closest to this work would be mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering or electrical engineering. You would also get related skills studying something like control engineering, aerospace engineering, or even applied physics. You can check out wikipedia for more information about these fields.
If you are still in K-12 school, your best preparation to study any of these fields is as much math and science as you can take (especially physics, chemistry and biology).
The US doesn't spend billions of dollars on missle defense for the Iraq war.
The US spends billions of dollars on missile defense for EVERY war! :)
Don't think so limiting.
Don't worry, we'll blow up a lot more countries then just Iraq with it over time.
Ok, I'm in the "Starks meant as plural" camp. That would be why there is an image of more than one person wearing a HAL unit.
Saying "Real-life Tony Stark" just would not make sense because that would imply that they've created a single HAL device when in fact they have many.
The technology is amazing whether you agree with the grammar or not!
Cyberdyne creating HAL! This is how the human race ends.
Ghostface Killah approves of this headline.
Cyberdyne didn't build this in a cave with a box of scraps though.
I agree Matthew is silly! Of course the millitary spends its money on stuff like this! They just put it to different uses. Why make devices to help the handicapped when they could just as easily be used to create the handicapped?!
These contraptions are coming soon to a battlefield near you!
You'd need to take some very advanced engineering physics
Wow. Just wow.
My God you commenters are idiots. Tony Starks – plural.
The company should call me..my sister who suffers left side paralysis ..i'd love for her to try this.....
I agree this can open a world for people who have had their independence closed on them due to accident, injury, or illnesses. Personally, I think they should be called Robo legs.
"It’s a shame the US is not spending its billions of research dollars on technology like this"
Why bother, cripples have already given all that can be squeezed out of them and are useless to a military minded government!
As far as the "Tony Starks" thing goes, maybe he meant it as in plural. Like, more than one Tony Stark.
Those are pretty cool, though. I wonder how exactly they work?
Starks is plural for Stark.
Anyway, this technology is wonderful. I sure wish it were available and affordable in the U.S., my mom has been bedridden with surgery related loss of mobility for the last few years and this could change her life.
Technology is great, but is too expensive to be lucrative.
Apparently Japanese. Since the only thing we have like that is a tank heavy lifter thing, with a heat profile like a helicopter.
I really am disheartened seeing really good engineering and science increasingly being done overseas meanwhile guys in suits keep telling our politicians we have to shovel H1B's here so that the salaries become so depressed that the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, computer science or most any other profession which used to garner very attractive salaries and talent are internally arbitraged and the innovative direction is set by people more interested in immediate profits , uninteresting ideas, (or both) rather than having vision or concern for the long term interest.
i think i'll wait for the 9000 model to come out, then buy :)
in time, as with all other new technology, it will be more accessible and cost less.
whenever a new technology comes out, it's always too expensive for most people. Then, it gets cheaper and the design even improves over time.
US is still the leader of the Slug Cartel
Allied by Burma and Liberia,
But, will they abandon US ?
Side with the French, and adopt Metric.?
Also, this is a large reason why my vote goes to Obama – he's forward thinking with his ideas on science and bringing new jobs back home.
Palin doesn't even believe in science and McCain seems to do and think what he's told to by others.
Jonathan, It really depends on what aspect(s) of this project captures your interest. There are many disciplines involved in this kind of work. Certainly the engineering disciplines such as electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering are involved but there other disciplines as well like, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, medicine, robotics, and a plethora of others which make good entry points to work such as this.
Do some research and find out what colleges and universities are involved in this and similar types of research and contact them to learn more about their programs and how you can get involved. While choosing the right study path can be a huge advantage, the important thing is that you have the discipline and desire to achieve your goals! Good luck and pursue what makes you happy, -Dave.
This has potential, especially that full-body version they were talking about.
Until the suit decides it doesn't like taking orders any more...
Uhm, the title is plural. Real life Tony Starks Isn't a typo it's saying that there is more than one. We have some real winners in the comments don't we?
How will the one leg model work if the person, when walking up the stairs, have to use the other leg to bring the whole 22 pound contraption with them addding the machine to their own weight? it could create a serious balance problem as one leg will have far more stress on it than usual, and the other wont.
Quote: One question — can’t help but wonder why the company chose the names “Cyberdyne” and “HAL” — names that have less-than-stellar reputations from the Terminator movies and 2001, A Space Odyssey.
Christopher Piatt, CNN Sci-Tech Unit- end quote
A better question is 'Why didn't Christopher ask the one question?
Unbelievable that most of the comments on this story was in regards to an 's' being added to a name...
The doors that are opened with this advancement, both literally & figuratively, could be limitless.
And, the money that is being spent on our defense is always money well spent. The same corporations that are developing our missile systems are also working on real – life iron men; exoskeletons for soldiers, better armor, etc.
The next question is: When will we be getting Jericho?
I think when they say "Tony Starks" they mean more than one Tony Stark, as in plural. And Cyberdyne and HAL? This definitely creeps me out...
Cyberdyne, HAL, Tony Stark... This whole article is just a geek's delight, so needless to say, I love it.
And for you misguided grammar cops out there... yes, the character's name is Tony Stark, but the article talks about a PLURAL number of real-world geniuses who fit the mold. Thus, "Starks" is correct.
I live in Japan and I can tell you two things: one: Japanese LOVE anything that has to do with robots. Two: They have no regard for the history or meaning of English words. So even though the names Cyberdyne and HAL are associated with a dystopian future, for Japanese people in general it just sounds familiar and easy to pronounce in Japanese.
A) Just don't buy a HAL unit if your name is "Dave"...
B) Maybe if we spent less time playing games, extending our childhood into our twenties, and exalting sports players over scientists and educators, we might do as well as countries whose heroes are scientists, thinkers and artists.
C) The Japanese were introduced to technology by the USA. After WWII, they have been forbidden to assemble their own military / defense systems. We are stationed in Japan. The USA defends Japan from attack, as it's a strategic location for us. This means that the Japanese can focus our technology in ways that we don't have the liberty to pursue, as they don't NEED to sink billions into a defense system – in point of fact (unless this has changed recently) they simply CAN'T sink even a DIME into a defense system. It's not their fault that as a society we are more lazy and less creative overall. We also set lower expectations. Of course, Japan ALSO has a higher suicide rate, and has more teens that are a pack of cigarette a day smokers. :p
It all balances out.
Hey, at least the Borg wont have much work to do. I'm siding with the machines!
[...] Read More... [...]
Clone Troopers styled?
Nice legs, but the US has better set. See the XOS Exoskeleton http://www.popsci.com/node/20689. To the other posters stop knocking the US and look at what is built here in this country.
note on the skynet ref. skynet is also a real thing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skynet_(satellites) ). Doesn't anyone in charge watch these movies??!?!?! :)
Yes we have a U.S designed exoskelton.
On the same note with the movies. What about Willam Gibson's Neromancer.
I am sure there are companies working with AI that have the name Neuromancer and Wintermute.
On the topic of movies. "See you at the party Rickter!"
Sorry about the late posting; but the Japanese Defense Force (defense only-no offensive capability) is funded by the government there. They also contribute some of the upkeep of the US troops stationed there. That's why it was such a big deal to send support troops to Iraq–the government had to wiggle around the no offensive activities clause. Overall however their defense spending is smaller than ours, and there is the group desire to spend government monies on technology development in partnership with their capitalist companies so they borrow technology developed elsewhere and run with it. Their commercial R&D as part of GDP is almost 30% bigger than in the US (older numbers but fairly accurate) so they have room to play with things and see where it takes them. They also take a much longer view on development time than we do here but are more nimble when something needs a quick change.
Or maybe it more like a real life Clark Kents, or Bruce Waynes
Grammar police out in force, because the science and technology are beyond their comprehension? ;)
Sadly, with the TX school board trying to get ID into the science curriculum, I see the US falling further and further behind to nations like Japan and China. Soon, the US will be a wildlife refuge for uneducated Epsilons, and the rest of the world will be off to the stars without us...
Sorry, I just got depressed reading about the Texas Board of Education...
Generally, the type of person who gets a job in robotics, or any science related field is going to be just as much of a geek as those of us commenting on this article. All the names are on purpose because they're COOL to all the wannabe Tony Starks of the world.
Toxic power; This will make you a Superman ?
Able to leap tall buildings. Underestimate your strength
Crash the gate to Heaven, an eternal harp player.
I would marvel at the technology, but "Cyberdyne" and "HAL" make me a little nervous.
you forgot to mention, it looks like the beginning of stormtrooper gear.
Unless Cyberdyne plans on recouping its R&D cost by making and renting one (i.e., singular) robot suit, then the title of this article is correct... unless we're supposed to believe the proper plural is "Tonies Stark".
I'd give my right arm to get a hybrid assistive limb.
Maybe even a leg......
You all probably already guessed that their mainframe is called WOPR right???!!!!1111oneoneone
Too bad the commentors above didn't get it : Tony Starks, PLURAL, as in bunch of people that imitate Tony Stark, since the article discusses possibility of people (plural) that might use the HAL system, so there would be a bunch of Tony Stark_s_.
worst proof - haha.
I wonder if the company making this has considered the weight loss and exercise equip market? Probably more money. An adjustable active resistance device to increase muscle use would build muscle and increase calorie burn. then you could reverse it and let grandma do a marthon. Few devices in that market are portable much less wearable just in time for Christmas!
Look comic book geeks. It's pluralized. One Tony Stark. Two Tony Starks. The picture is off two people. Now please, please leave you apartment and find a hobby.
Look up Sarcos or something else on YouTube for better, or at least more realistic, 'suits'. These still seem like toys more than they resemble functioning powered exo-suits.
Heyyyy!!!! Robo Sex is gonna be out of this world!!!!
I'd use those legs to walk my fat butt to Burger King.
Do you want to play a game?
Seriously.. I wonder if this company is in danger of copyright infringement on the terminator series...
Cyberdyne ring any bells out there...
Of all the geeky references on this comment board, I think my favorite is from Larian LeQuella. Nice shout out to Huxley's Brave New World.
[...] [Via CNN] [...]
i really have to wonder what the point is of expending huge amounts of money and brainpower developing medical devices and techniques that no more than a tiny fraction of the population will EVER be able to afford. does anyone see medicare paying for these? the american healthcare system is already overburdened to the point of near bankruptcy, and not only by the usual scapegoats we love to blame (greedy lawyers, insurance fraud, etc) but by the fact that so many of these miraculous devices and procedures are simply unaffordably expensive. the economic infrastructure just can't support it.
It's Tony "Stark", not "Starks".
Maybe they can work on "hybrid assistive english" next . Judging by this comment section, it would be a big seller!
imagine. we wouldn't worry about what language you and i speak, what english grammar is correct; one day, cyberdyne would come out a technology that literally helps read minds. scary yet? i'm working on it! :)
huh... isn't "Cyberdyne" that one company from the "Terminator" movies?
I love you Obama people. You think he is the cure for everything and yet you know nothing about him or his background.
As for saying someone doesn't believe in science because of there faith, please don't add to the gene pool. Steve Hawking ring a bell. He believes in God and he is the greatest mind of our generation.
Get a brain.
I am all for bio suits. It will sure make moving easier!
As with all new technology, the early adopters will pay a much higher price for the premature release. 10 years from now this technology will likely weigh half what it does now, and will be available for purchase at the price of today's monthly rental.
is it only for disabled people?
okay all of you complaining about the s at the end of starks shut up it plural because there is more than one person wearing one and im 15 how does that make you feel
Jonathan, mechanical engineering would get you on the path. How much are the pair with 4 foot vertical leap, everybody could play in the NBA!
Imitating a bumblebee, dragonfly, mosquito, flying squirrel commuter,
Icarus version coming soon ?
Into autopilot dive, when too close to the Sun !
Japan creates the technology, the US modifies it for war. Pretty soon these robo-suits will be outfitted with nukes and a US flag and deployed to the next poor country with "WMDs"
"HAL, extend my left leg"
"I can't let you do that Dave"
"Extend my d*mn left leg HAL!"
tony stark built... this in a cave
I think they weren't saying "Starks" was his name, they trying to use the plural form.
Did you know that when making 2001, the producers requested to use IBM as the computer name and IBM refused, so they used the letters in the alphabet right next to the IBM letters, that is how they came up with "HAL"
The guy who started the Japanese company Cyberdyne specifically chose the name from the Terminator movie. No coincidence there.
Thank You Arnold S.
My guess is mechanical engineering......
Okay people let's think about this for a second. How many of your grandparents are on social security? Okay, now how many of your grandparents are able to afford $2200 a month? as well as all their other bills (i.e. doc bills, meds, housing, food)? So what good is it doing grandma?...
Fans of the Yoko Tsuno comic strip have expected a similar gizmo for years. Please discover the cover of the famous Belgian comic strip, at
À la prochaine :-)
Did anyone see Wall-e? Do you really want to become like that? Where everyone is just a big ball of jelly with fragile bones because they don't get any exercize at all....
With everyone a Tony Stark, the power drain on the grid
Blown fuses and breakers. Where will the power come from ?
"Tony Starks" as in plural, more than one.
I, for one, welcome our new electronic pants overlords!
And weren't these already made by the great inventor, Wallace, of Wallace and Gromit fame?
I would say compsci, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering...
Tony Starks, as in plural.
Real Life Iron Men?
Would have made more sense.
To Jonathan Simpson,
Lots of Electrical, Mechanical, and Materials Engineering.
This is a morality movie.
Realization that, love of power and capital
Maintained by weapons - Bad are US
umm robotics would be a great start then if you wanted to do something like this i think a basic biology course would be good since this type of thing is for assisting in movement and what not . i wonder what range of motion it has to be honest it would be really hard to turn if they cant twist
Mccain might need this if he becomes president.
cyberdine systems model t1000 liquid metal skeleton was much cooler
Tony Starks.. is a reference to Tony Stark but plural...like I don't know a company of people has more that one person, so They are Tony Stark...would not make sense...but they are Tony Starks would.
I think this technology and those like it is a wonderful advance into helping people that have been disabled. With beginnings like this, the future really does look bright.
I like pizza
did they also develop a camera that makes people look shorter?
First things first, Starks is plural.
Second, the cost will come down in time (think HDTVs, or any other technology for that matter)
Third, the U.S. government IS putting money towards this type of technology, but for different reasons. The U.S. wants military tools to better equip our soldiers on the battlefield (The Sarkos Xos). Cyberdyne (great name) created the HAL (even better name) to assist the elderly and disabled. They don't even rent it to anyone for reasons other than disabilities.
Who's better? Is it more important to better protect your nation or to better care for your people's ailments? You can decide that for yourself. Though, if the world would just learn to tolerate other cultures and respect people's rights, we would all be better off, and that goes for America every bit as much as Iraq, Iran, China, Somalia, and North Korea.
Well, ASIA power is on the rise due to strong mathematical & analytical skills. There are lots of engineers in ASIA compare to USA. U.S. is producing more lawyers, bartenders, singers, & of course financial analyst who created the global meltdown credit crunch; less of technical & engineering graduates. Do you think it will make difference? Of course, as ASIA are now conquering space, while US is busy conquering middle east.
what do we have to offer really.... Besides great BBQ and Instant Tans in a can. I mean C'mon...
*sings* Money, money, money, money... MONEY! (Thank you Mr. Trump)
So i don't know about the rest of you, but WOW, $2200/month to RENT? I hope people who are unable to walk arnt getting their hopes up too high. I say "Too high" because even though this is an amazingly high price, this is one heck of a technological break through and if someone is able to develope a cheaper-but-just-as-effective version, then we would help so many people. At this point in time, where our seniors (the main consumer target) are on fixed incomes that barely allow them to be in a house of their own, this price doesn't seem plausable. But technology is always improving so kudos on the development, now get to working on something a little cheaper-but-just-as-good! Please! ^^
some of youll people are so quick to state stupid things dread
theres an s on the stark cause more than one person can buy the product. plus this is cool that they are starting to work on robotics like this because if they keep at it eventually they will be prefected and awesome.
They prob meant Stark(s) since there are two in the photo.
I am the RZA, and I approve this message. Raekwon the Chef would be proud of my fish-scaled underwater ally. In fact, we are ALL proud. RIP Unique Ason
Ok. So we have Cyberdyne outfitting HAL with Stormtrooper armor.
Obviously this will be reverse engineered by the resistance, led by John Connors closest friends, Dave, and Luke Skywalker, in order to ensure the survival of the elderly John Connor from another Cyberdyne menace, Darth Staircase, who will attempt to break Johns hip...
Wow. I'm pretty sure they know it's Tony Stark. Just so you know, if you make something "plural" you put an "s" after it.
As far as classes to take, EE, maybe Biomed, but this field is something you probably can't really get into until Grad school or later.
Does anyone notice the main story on the Tech section right now????
Honda Creates Robotic Walker?!!!??!
seems honda just stole Cyberdyne's idea and now CNN has 2 stories about the same thing from both companies... kinda funny..
not funny if youre cyberdyne tho, Honda for sure has more money. Wonder if they bought a patent or just stole it from the CNN article HAHA!
It looks like they function differently based off their design so it probably isn't stealing it, although I've heard about concepts of such a machine for many years in tech mags and stuff. As for the s I just think it's funny how emotional people are getting over this. But what does it matter? As soon as missile control is turned over the the machines we're screwed.
Those who have nothing to say, will say it about spelling.
What saddens me the most while attempting to read through the comments to get a gist for what other intelligent humans are thinking is... It's hard to find that intelligence... because the predominant discussion is not the exorbant cost nor the more than likely inaccessibility to a possibly much needed technology with a plethura of fantastic uses in the future, but the fact that so many people on here are merely trying to mentally masterbate themselves by incorrectly calling out proofing errors. This would be why YOU didn't write the article and why Mr. Piatt receives the stipend that he does from his employer. So please, please, please go brush up on that very basic middle school English class you probably slept through or take it back to your MMORPG forums and let it go?
October 30th, 2008 1:53 am ET
Okay people let’s think about this for a second. How many of your grandparents are on social security? Okay, now how many of your grandparents are able to afford $2200 a month? as well as all their other bills (i.e. doc bills, meds, housing, food)? So what good is it doing grandma?…
Tom, in Japan there are a new breed of Middle aged adults who sponge off their parents. They work jobs (like IBM or other corporatations) , have no bills but are able to shell it out on hotels and expensive toys. Leaving their parents who are retired to pay bills, morgages, etc. Don't get me started on how its going to affect their economy but whatever.
[...] company in Japan has developed the first prototypes of a robotic suit that can help disabled and elderly people walk as well as climb up and down stairs. The company is [...]
"it’s Tony STARK"
They meant multiple Tony's, learn how to read.
Anyway, that's interesting O.O
Seriously, none of you have any idea what you're talking about and you obviously lack the ability to identify. When they wrote "Real-life Tony Starks" they meant multiple Tony's.
Starks is a plural, chuckleheads (that's plural too...). The headline refers to "Starks" as in many of them...
great, now i can walk up the stairs..........
How exactly am i getting down?
enough about the grammar, who cares????
they said tony starks because they meant more than one person resembling the man, tony stark. yeesh.
Ya, you guys pointing out CNN's "grammatical issues"...
They are saying "Real life Tony Starks" just as you might say, in reference to a group of people who share the same name, "Real life Joe Smiths". As in, there is at least one Joe Smith, but we are referring to all potential Joe Smiths out there. There is no apostrophe, because it is not a possessive case.
Did no one pass high school grammar?
Michael, the title of the piece refers to more than one real-life Tony Stark.
Tony Starks – plural, with an S.
Real life tony stark(s) plural. This article is in reference to people (plural) using robotic enchancements. It does not mention a single person. Don't criticize something if you are an idiot. Good article
To those who believe that the U.S. military is dumb enough to not have invested in this. Take a look into a company called Sarcos Inc. There is a good article on Dailytech.com, just type "Iron Man" into the search. According to the article the U.S. army started exoskeleton research as early as 1995... By the way who cares if Tony Stark/s is being correctly used.
You people should get a life on the spelling thing... great idea if it helps people out with mobility... one question can I finally dunk a basket ball with this thing?
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