Tokyo’s Haneda Airport has partnered with robotics company Cyberdyne to equip its staff with robotic exoskeletons.
Cyberdyne will provide fully functioning robots that will help in the cleaning of the airport and the lifting of heavy objects in the terminals.
Not only that but if the robots work out well, they could be supplied to other airports in Japan and outside.
It started as an experiment, but since HAL’s introduction into the robot world, the technology has really taken off.
Now that the exoskeleton suit is past the prototype stage, Cyberdyne is exploring new ways to use it — including a number of medical, industrial and labour-oriented applications.
HAL works by feeding off a person’s brain signals.
When a person wants to move, the brain sends signals to the muscles which travel onto the skin’s surface, according to Cyberdyne.
HAL reads these “bio-electric signals” and moves with the body accordingly.
“I want to expand it to all other airports in Japan and also to airports worldwide,” Japan Airport Terminal Co. President Isao Takashiro said.
A person weighing roughly 110 lbs. could pick up a 45-lb. suitcase with ease, although the device can be ramped up even higher for added strength.
HAL for Labour Support comes with a battery that can last a few hours and a price tag of $1,109 per month.
It will also work in tandem with floor robots that can cart loads upward of 400 lbs. and clean the airport terminals.
The airport will also implement Cyberdyne’s transport robots and cleaning robots that are capable of riding the lift and cleaning the floors with no human interference.
Japan remains among the leaders in the development and use of robots.
The pact announced Thursday aims to make Haneda “a world pioneer in robot technology in airports, creating a vision for the future,” Japan Airport Terminal and Cyberdyne said in their statement.