Yoshiyuki Sankai is a robotics professor researching cybernetics at his lab at Tsukuba University. HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb), a robotic suit that is worn as an exoskeleton, allows people to lift heavy loads and eases movement for those with physical disabilities.
Despite offers from military powers around the world drooling at the prospect of soldiers in super suits, his company Cyberdyne (named after a fictitious military contractor in James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster Terminator 2) hasn’t lived up to its namesake. Molded by the stories of Isaac Asimov and cartoon heroes such as Cyborg 009 he enjoyed as a boy, Professor Sankai’s HAL is decidedly benevolent.
He recently signed a deal with Odense University Hospital in Denmark, where HAL will undergo clinical trials regarding worker augmentation. In the following three part (13 min) interview conducted in early 2009, Professor Sankai discusses his work (videos follow after the break).