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Cyberdyne readies US clinical trials for HAL robot suits

Japanese company seeks American approval for assisted-movement system

TOKYO -- Japan's Cyberdyne will open a medical center in the U.S. state of Florida to conduct clinical trials for its wearable robotic suit, which the company thinks can help paralyzed patients regain lower limb function.

The specialized center will operate inside a Brooks Rehabilitation hospital as early as this year. The trials will seek improvements in the ability of patients to walk using the Hybrid Assistive Limb robot. Brooks physicians received training on how to use the robots at Cyberdyne's headquarters in the Ibaraki Prefecture city of Tsukuba.

Cyberdyne expects to obtain approval soon for the cyborg-type device from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after which it will offer the robot-aided therapy in the country. The treatment will be provided through a joint venture established with Brooks.

The venture also plans to team with a variety of U.S. medical institutions and expand beyond Florida. Europe and Japan already have given Cyberdyne permission to use its exoskeletal robot as a medical device.


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