Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Well, Now We Know Where the Terminators Will Come From

And it ain't Sunnyvale, California.

Remember the Cyberdyne Systems T-800?

It looks like it started out life as an exoskeleton designed to assist human beings:

Exoskeletons Are on the March

Cyberdyne is shipping nearly 100 more exoskeletons this fall

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.

HAL reads electric signals at the surface of the skin that are generated by the muscle beneath and then uses them to guide the movement of robotic limbs strapped to a person’s real limbs, thereby multiplying their strength.

The polio patient’s withered left leg generated extremely weak bioelectric signals at first, and the robotic limb remained unmoved. Ten days later, with HAL’s assistance, the patient moved his left leg based on his own intention. “He cried,” says Sankai.

Sankai suspects that in the past 45 years, the patient’s brain had rarely generated the signals needed to move his left leg. After the patient used HAL, the levels of signals strengthened and became detectable. Sankai says that similar phenomena were observed when applying the HAL suit to patients with spinal cord injuries. Starting in late April, his team began measuring bioelectric signals in polio and stroke patients before and after using HAL. They hope to record data over a period of 8 to 12 months. An analysis of how the brain adapts to HAL will be taken into account to improve the exoskeleton’s operation, says Sankai.

In Japan, more than 20 sets of various HAL exoskeletons are in use at hospitals and rehabilitation centers, Sankai says. The facilities lease the robots from Sankai’s company, Cyberdyne, for about US $1700 per month on average.

“It’s worthwhile, because a suit can be used for eight patients per day,” he says, adding that the service could possibly be cheaper once the market for the exoskeletons increases.

Sankai, who is Cyberdyne’s CEO, expects to supply 80 to 90 suits in Japan in October. At the end of September, 10 sets of HAL suits will be delivered to Denmark to be used by nurses who care for elderly people. The suits should enhance the nurses’ strength, helping them to move patients.

More versions of HAL are in the works, says Sankai. Following HAL’s use by a man injured in a car wreck to climb the 4164-meter Breithorn Mountain, in Switzerland, the company decided to develop a weather-resistant outdoor exoskeleton. Sankai says the company will also be introducing a HAL with significantly smaller and lighter batteries this fall at an event in Kyoto.
Screw Terminators. I want a Mecha:

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