Welcome again to JJNN for Friday October 10th, 2008. Today we will be talking about the future here now.
I watched a lot of movies when I was young. Everything from Ghostbusters to Gremlins. There was always one movie that stood out to me though, Robocop. I always thought it would be cool to have my brain put into a robot. All the long life and power of the robot with the brains of the human. Perfect really.
Well, according to this story, we are taking a step closer to that dream. No, we are not taking brains and putting them in machines. We are taking whole humans and building a robotic suit around them. I know the idea is closer to Gizmo Duck from the Disney cartoon than Robocop, but I still like Robocop better.
A Japanese company called Cyberdyne (cool name, huh?) has produced their own version of a robotic suit called HAL. The name of the company seems to be a throwback to a company name in Terminator and the name of the suit seems to be a throwback to the name of the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL actually stands for Hybrid Assistive Limb. They named it that because they designed this robotic suit to help people who have trouble walking or moving otherwise. You can see a picture of HAL below.
The version of HAL in the picture is the full body version. There is also another version that is just the bottom half of the suit. That other version is geared towards those whole have trouble or have lost the ability to walk only. Personally, if I am going to get a robotic suit, I think I would get the full body version. You can see HAL at work in the video below.
That is an old video, but the maker of HAL has constantly been upgrading HAL ever since. The big news on the HAL front is the fact that are not selling the robots. That's right! You can buy one of robots and walk around like that now. How much do you think these things cost? Well, let me tell you that it is not cheap. A one leg version of the suit comes with a price tag of 150000 yen (a the current sucky market prices just about 1500 USD) a month! The two legged version is 220000 yen (about 2200 USD) a month. That is for a 5 year lease. My wallet says ouch.
Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is ロボット(ろぼっと). It is pronounced robotto and means robot. And, yes, domo arigatou mr. roboto.
That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.