Cyberdyne HAL

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Hybrid Assistive Limb
Cyberdynehal 01.jpg
Category Limb-mounted
Developer Cyberdyne [1]
Announced 1997 (prototype)[2]
Released Developers:
Consumers: (not released)
Price 2000 USD (monthly)[3]
Operating system (unknown)

bio-electric signals [4]

Weight 12000 g (Lower-limb model, both legs)[4]

user's brain signals [5]

Data available Limited
Risk factor Low

Cyberdyne Hybrid Assistive Limb, or HAL, is a powered, wearable exoskeleton designed to support and assist the muscles of the user. It is used to return the ability to move to persons who lost it due to spinal injury or a stroke. It can be used in mobility therapy and restoration, movement assistance for the elderly, and movement and strength enhancement for workers or incident response teams.

Main Characteristics

Man showcasing the device.

Cyberdyne HAL is equipped with neurosignal sensors that pick up the neural signals from the user's spine and translate them into the movement of the motorized joints. The user is only required to think about moving their limbs. HAL is currently used in neuromuscular feedback therapy. There are also plans to develop a powered exoskeleton to enhance workers working with heavy weights,[6] or powered and protective exoskeleton for emergency and disaster responders.[7] The company claims that it will never develop technology for military purposes.[8]


Cyberdyne HAL is a powered exoskeleton used in mobility therapy and for movement and strength enhancement.

Company & People

The exoskeleton is developed by a Japanese company Cyberdyne Inc. The company was founded on 24 June 2004 and is headquartered in Tsukuba, Japan.[9][10]

  • Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai - President and founder
  • Fumiyuki Ichihashi, Shinji Uga, Hiroaki Kawamoto - Directors

Important Dates

April 2016 - Keio University joins Cyberdyne to develop treatments for spinal cord injuries that combine induced pluripotent stem cell therapy and Cyberdyne's exoskeleton therapy.[11]


Enhancement & Therapy - The exoskeleton can be used to restore the ability to walk in spinal cord injuries patients and it can be also used to enhance the strength of a healthy human beyond their natural capabilities.

Ethical & Health Issues

We recorded no ethical or health issues connected to this particular device.

For more general issues connected with smartglasses, please see the Body-worn Wearables synopsis.

Public & Media Impact and Presentation

The company lists a number media articles on their website.[12] The following is a digest of some of the selected articles about the device:

An article in the Nikkei Asian Review talks about the financial difficulties the company had in the fiscal year of 2015. According to the news piece, investors are reluctant to buy Cyberdyne's shares because it failed to show new plans on how to expand their business. The high R&D costs greatly limited the company's net gain in finances. The article further talks about the company plans to expand into Europe with the medical-grade version of the device and informs that despite this expansion, Cyberdyne was not met with greatly increased financial gain.[13]

Forbes Asia writes about the history of the company and its founder. It mentions the company's plans to expand their product portfolio with non-medical variants of the HAL exoskeleton. The article also mentions that Cyberdyne trusts their vision enough that it expects its revenue to double in the following two years and that it expects the income to continue to rise as the Japan's population ages.[14]

Story in the Bloomberg magazine focuses on Japan's robotic research and mentions Cyberdyne as one of the firms "pushing the boundaries". The article shares Cyberdyne's founder history. It also mentions that HAL has been introduced into Tokiwa Koutai Co., an aluminium processing factory, to help workers handle heavy loads.[15]

BBC News also covered Japan's robotic technology. In an article title 'Meeting the pioneers of Japan's coming robot revolution', they covered Cyberdyne HAL's abilities to restore the ability to walk in a Poliomyelitis patient and an amputee. The authors closed the article with saying that the technology was still in its infancy and that Cyberdyne works on a lighter model that could be worn by children.[16]

The Wall Street Journal featured a long article about Japan dealing with its ageing population. The article mentions technology, and robotics specifically, as solutions for the upcoming demographic shift. The article mentions that Cyberdyne leased its exoskeletons to the Fujisawa Aikoen nursing home.[17]

Public Policy

There is no policy regarding this particular device. However, policies relevant to Body-worn Wearables may apply to this device too.

Related Technologies, Projects, or Scientific Research