Japanese firm to bring cyborg-type medical robot to PH

By Ram Christian Agustin

A Japan-based robotics company has revealed its plan to bring to the local market a cyborg-type robot for medical use, particularly for rehabilitation of various limbs and body parts.

Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai (left) explains the technology behind the HAL robot suit

The tech firm, Cyberdine, made the announcement in a medical symposium held recently at Okada Manila in Parañaque City.

The robot suit HAL (Hybrid Assisted Limb) is the main product of Cyberdyne, a company established by Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai for the dissemination of his research results from the University of Tsukuba for the benefit of the public.

Being the world’s first cyborg-type robot, HAL drastically enhances its wearer’s bodily functions. Through a system that accelerates the motor learning of a physically challenged person’s cerebral nerves, a patient can be empowered to move and exert bigger motor energy.

HAL’s motion principle states that the process is initiated when the patient’s brain transmits motion signals to the muscles through the nerves. HAL will then detect the bio-electric signals (BES), or signals sent to the muscles by the brain that leak on the skin surface as very faint signals, and consolidates the information to identify the set of motions that the wearer intends to.

The HAL for Medical Use – Lower Limb Model is especially designed for patients with Musculoskeletal Ambulation Disability Symptom Complex (MADS) and is the only known robotic remedial device that can teach the brain how to move the legs.

The HAL for Medical Use – Lower Limb Model also comes with a detachable controller which enables the operator to manipulate start/stop of assistance, alteration of settings, and confirmation of motion statuses.

The medical device can provide a life-changing miracle for patients suffering from spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cerebrovascular diseases, and even brain and neuromuscular system ailments.

“Stroke is ranked within the top three leading causes of death for the Filipinos. We have seen so many rehabilitation programs and this technology is actually giving hope for the patients with these illnesses,” Dr. Albert L. Zarate, president and CEO of Life1, a local partner of Cyberdyne.

Cyberdyne said its goal is to “create a new industrial model that promotes an industrial and social transformation from our current consumption-based economy to one based on innovative solutions to critical social issues.”

“Together with our company, we are trying our best to make it affordable to everybody. Hopefully we will be working with Philhealth and PCSO for patients who cannot afford the technology,” stated Zarate.

The HAL system is currently available in all 12 regions of the Philippines. The company is open for collaborations with local hospitals across the country.