I’m pretty sure most of you are familiar with the Terminator films, right? Well, when I came to Japan I was shocked to find out that not only is Cyberdyne a real company, but they specialize in robotics, and they’re main office is a 3-minute train ride away. There is also a Cyberdyne showcase at the mall. It didn’t realize Judgment Day was really going to happen…
Cyberdyne’s slogan is “Leading Edge of Cybernics” that’s what the website said anyway. What word does cybernics sound like? To me it sounds like Cybernetics. In the Terminator 2 film when Arnold Schwarzenegger (Cyberdyne Systems Model 101) is explaining what he is, he says “I am a cybernetic organism, living tissue over a metal endoskeleton…” Pretty freaky, huh?
But in all seriousness, Cyberdyne is based in Tsukuba, Japan, also known as “Science City.” The reason I think Tsukuba got that nickname is because there are hundreds of researchers living here. I teach English, and in large part, my adult students are researchers. Cyberdyne caught my attention while I was walking through IIAS, my local mall. I saw an ad promotion of a man wearing a strange robotic suit, so I looked into it a bit. It turns out that this suit is meant to increase a human’s strength capacity. This suit is called the HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb)…isn’t HAL from the Metal Gear video game?
Anyway the suit does have an altruistic purpose behind it. Professor Yohiyuki Sankai of Tsukuba University (which is also very close to my apartment) did have an altruistic motive in creating the HAL. The suit is designed to help the elderly and disabled walk more easily. I must say that the demonstrations of the suit are extremely cool. Not only does it help people walk effectively, but it can also make a human up to five times stronger. As the technology develops even further, who knows what this machine will be able to do?