With more than 2,000 Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) workers, as well as those from other companies, working to manage the aftermath of nuclear meltdown that resulted in Fukushima after a massive earthquake this spring, safety from radiation is of utmost concern.
According to an AFP report posted by PhysOrg (via Gizmodo), Japanese researchers at Cyberdyne have unveiled updated technology that could help hazardous materials workers who encounter radioactive materials:
Lightweight Tyvek protective outfits can provide a barrier between radioactive materials and the body, but are not effective in blocking radiation itself.
Vests made of tungsten can block radiation but are very heavy, making it difficult for workers to take on long shifts at highly contaminated sites, Cyberdyne noted.
"This new type of HAL robot suit supports the weight of tungsten-made protective clothing and enables their wearers to work on the site without feeling the burden," the company said in a statement.
"It is hoped that this will reduce risks of working under harsh environments and contribute to early restoration operations by humans in the wake of disasters," it said.
Cyberdyne notes that tungsten vests can weigh more than 130 pounds. So, it created a type of cyborg technology called Hybrid Assisted Limb (HAL), which helps give you super human strength. According to the company's website, HAL uses biosignals to interpret the wearer's movements and could be applied in not only settings that require heavy lifting assistance, but in medical rehabilitation as well.
The suits are rented for about $2,000 per month.
Watch this report from earlier this year to see HAL in action: