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Business trends

From remote rehab to fitness, Japan's wearable robots adapt to crisis

Cyberdyne and Panasonic find new opportunities in avoiding the 'Three Cs'

Tetsuzo Agishi, an 86-year-old Tokyo resident, uses Cyberdyne's Hal power assist suit as part of a training regimen to improve his leg movement at home.

TOKYO -- Amid the spread of the coronavirus, Japanese manufacturers of robotic power assist suits, also known as wearable robotics, which support bodily movements, are developing a market driven by demand for avoiding the "three Cs" -- closed spaces with insufficient ventilation, crowded conditions with many people and conversations at short distance.

Cyberdyne in Tsukuba, northeast of Tokyo, has started a service renting a device that helps elderly people exercise at home to improve their bodily functions. A subsidiary of Panasonic in Osaka Prefecture has developed a remote fitness regimen in which users wear the company's power assist suit. The companies aim to expand uses for their products to help boost profits.

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