Japanese Robotics Company Approved to Sell Cybernetics in U.S.

Objective: Kill Sarah Connor.

Griffin Sonnemann-Creed, Columnist

Cyborgs. Once seen as a possible future for humanity, these so-called “cybernetic organisms” have now become reality, rather than a storyteller’s fiction. This January, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Japanese company Cyberdyne to begin exporting their newest creation, the exoskeleton HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limbs) into the United States for therapeutic and medical use. This was immediately followed by an statement from Cyberdyne announcing their next creation, the CyinTM.

HAL is a form of mechanical exoskeleton that reads your body’s movements and attempts to mimic them. It does this by reading the electrical signals sent by your brain throughout your body. Typically, when a person moves a limb, their brain transmits an electrical signal through your neurons, which then reach your muscles and tell them what to do, how to move, and when to move. However, people with paralysis or other movement deficiencies may not be able to deliver those electrical signals, typically due to damaged or missing neurons. HAL attempts to remedy that.

The exoskeleton first checks for electrical signals travelling along your neurons. Then, it uses the information from the neurons and electricity to mimic the designated movement. Official statements from Cyberdyne state that this process is better for therapy than normal forms of physical therapy, as it is not simply attempting to make your body move – it is your body (commanding the HAL exoskeleton) moving.

CyinTM, the other technology revealed by Cyberdyne, works in much the same way. However, instead of attempting to mimic movement, CyinTM performs specific actions for the user. Built for people suffering from degenerative muscle diseases like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), CyinTM reads electrical signals in order to do things such as calling for a nurse, communicating with people, and connecting to computers. Cyberdyne has stated in press conferences that CyinTM is scheduled to be released to specific Japanese hospitals sometime in 2018.

With the rapid expansion of cybernetic firms and the advancements they bring, it may only be a few years until one can see cyborgs on a daily basis.