Bigger role eyed for PC-bodied exoskeletons


Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) of Germany and Cyberdyne of Japan are collaborating to develop devices made of performance plastics that will robotically respond to signals form a human's nervous system.

One product already developed is the HAL exoskeleton, which can be used in disaster management applications, such as working in nuclear plants disabled by natural disasters. The two partners are now looking for additional applications for the robot suit, which amplifies the movement of the limbs.

"HAL's shell is made of a thermoplastic polymer blend based on polycarbonate from the product class Bayblend," Stefan Paul Mechnig, a spokesman for BMS, told PlasticsToday.

To date, assistive robotic technologies have been aimed primarily at helping older, sick or infirm people. Broader applications are envisioned in the widening collaboration between BMS and Cyberdine. "This sector of the future has the potential in many ways to make human life easier, safer and more pleasant," says Lorenz Kramer, a robotics expert at Bayer MaterialScience...
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