Vol.025 The Intel Atom processor installed in HAL, the Robot Suit created for Social Welfare
In order to illustrate how IT can be used to deliver new lifestyles and merits, Intel are introducing and exhibiting HAL, a robot suit created for social welfare purposes, that uses the Intel Atom processor. The robot suit supports human movement by reading the weak signals triggered by muscle movement, then the power unit is activated to move in synch with the human wearer. The suit is already in use in rehabilitation centers.
The Intel Atom processor as used in the control unit
The HAL robot suit exhibition space
The HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) robot suit represents the manifestation of a dream of one man, Prof. Yoshiyuki Sankai. Currently, HAL is manufactured and sold by CYBERDYNE Inc. This is not the fictional company portrayed in the Terminator series of films, this is an actual company.
HAL works by detecting the faint electrical signals in a living body, then two distinct systems - the voluntary control system and the autonomous control system - work in combination to provide and support human-like movement.
A robot that becomes one with the wearer by reading the signals in the living body
The HAL robot suit
The HAL robot suit is equipped with sensors that attach to the wearer's skin. When the wearer wants to make a movement, their brain sends signals down the nerves using the motor neurons and these weak signals are picked up by the sensors on the users skin.
These signals trigger and control the power unit and as a result, the wearer finds that the power unit acts in unison with their own movement. The control device that manages the power unit houses the Intel Atom processor.
The Atom processor: Used in a wide variety of devices
The Intel Atom processor is installed in a wide range of devices, such as tablet PCs, smartphones, and electro-domestic products, etc. Thanks to its low power consumption design, the Atom runs at the lowest voltage ever achieved by an Intel CPU. Atom is designed as a system processor and can be used for a variety of purposes.
When a person is wearing the HAL robot suit, the battery to power the processor needs to be as small as it can be. With this in mind, the Intel Atom processor was the optimal choice for HAL.
Remote rehabilitation support made possible over the network
A demonstration of the HAL robot suit in action
At CEATEC, as people who try on the HAL robot suit have found, the demonstration shows that the sensors and the robot legs do not have to be together for movement to occur. The person performing the demonstration will make to move their leg, thus triggering the weak signals that will course through their body, signals that are picked up the sensors. The robot suit that is next to the demonstrator receives an order from the control unit and moves accordingly.
So not only is HAL capable of supporting the wearer when they indicate that they want to move in a certain way, the robot suit is also capable of responding to commands issued by an external party, as another way of lending support to the wearer. Ms. Harumi Nagayama, Program Manager of Market Development at CYBERDYNE's Marketing Department, explains that HAL "can offer remote rehabilitation support over a network."
Booth Number 1A03