HAL, which stands for “hybrid assistive limb,” is a kind of wearable robot or motorized exoskeleton. Tsukuba University engineering professor Yoshiyuki Sankai developed HAL to help its operator perform tasks that a normal human would not be strong enough to perform otherwise, according to the web page of Mr. Sankai's venture company Cyberdyne.
A link to images of HAL-5 at Sankai's lab and his company cyberdyne
Frequently asked questions about HAL It sells for 1.5 million yen and 300,000 to 400,000 yen per year for maintenance. So that converts to USD14,000 and then say USD3,500 per year of maintenance.
Here is an IEEE spectrum article from October 2005 that summarizes several exoskeleton projects in the USA, Asia and Europe Photos of exoskeletons around the world A japanese journal of robotics
Noteable exoskeleton systems:
Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton developed at Berkeley University
Bleex 2, should be unveiled soon. In tests, Bleex 2 let operators carry 200-lb loads and run faster than 6 fps. Bleex-2 weighs 14 kilograms
Sarcos research corp has a full body system that lets the user lift 84 kilograms without feeling it.
Oak Ridge National Labs has a tethered robotic system for moving 1000 kilogram bombs as though they weighed about 3 kilograms.
Servo magazine sponsors a robotic assisted lifting competition called Tetsujin It was held in 2004 but the 2005 competition was postponed.
Japan is working on robots (such as RI-MAN humanoid robot) to help assist its current and future aged population 22.7% of the population will be over 65 years of age by 2010.
An article on this site about major improvements in robotic muscle
A past summary on this site about robots and robotics