Hospital directors, top physical therapists, Medical and wellness practitioners, and Medical students throughout the country gathered at a Medical symposium jointly organized by Japan’s Cyberdyne Inc., and local partner, Life 1 Corporation, to introduce the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL), a wearable cyborg-type robot or exoskeleton which provides support and improves the bodily functions of immobile patients with lower limb disability.
HAL is a brainchild of Cyberdyne’s founder, Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai. HAL works by detecting and conveying the bio-electric signals sent to the muscles by the brain and consolidates the information to identify the set of motions that the wearer intends to leading to body movement. The technology leverages on computers, sensors, and artificial intelligence. Dr. Sankai mentioned that the Philippines is the perfect venue for the spread of the technology throughout Asia. This will benefit a lot of patients disabled by cardiovascular, cerebral and nervous muscular system disorders.
Life 1 Corporation currently has 12 units of HAL with 17 patients being treated in the company’s hospital in Las Pinas City. A patient with spinal cord inflammation was reportedly able to walk again after six treatment sessions. The units are for lease and the company is committed to bring down the cost of each treatment to PHP 3,000 (USD 58) for a 90-minute session.
It also intends to make the equipment available to the poor by partnering with the government through the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). The company is also open for collaborations with local hospitals across the country.
(Sources: NewsBytes, Philippine Information Agency, Philippine News Agency)