Who doesn’t love a bit of Japanese ingenuity and enthusiasm?
In the last week researchers at the University of Tokyo have showcased a project they have been working on, one that seemingly aims to merge robot and human into a single entity; more specifically, they have developed a set of Japanese robotic arms.
Headed by professor Masahiko Inami, the project known as ‘Jisai’ brings to life a set of robotic limbs that are currently attached to a wearable backpack. Its aim is to help advance and assist humans with greater abilities and freedom with Inami stating the device is “not a rival to human beings, but rather something that helps us do as we please”.
While this description may have you conjure up the image of the famous comic villain Doctor Octopus (Doc Ock), in truth … well that’s pretty much it.
It currently works in a very modular manner, in the sense that each arm is detachable with the possibility of other components or limbs able to take their place. Inami also added “In the future we might see wings growing out of people’s backs”.
It certainly seems a bit far fetched to be talking about wings among other things, yet, the project could have great potential.
The obvious benefit could be to those with disabilities or those that struggle to do basic everyday actions; carrying heavy loads, an alternative to bending are some actions that spring to mind, still, the idea of existing with robotic limbs sprouting from one’s back may take a little bit of getting used to.
Right now the project is still very much in an experimental phase and is currently operated by a remote control which is an obvious limitation.
Check out this footage and interview by Reuters to see the Japanese robotic arms in action for yourself.