London, Oct 20 : Stopping a moving aircraft with one hand didn't take much of an effort for Superman, and now, you too can possess such superhumanly strength, all thanks to a robotic suit that can multiply its wearer's body strength tenfold.
Earlier this month, the world's first fully functioning robotic exoskeleton was launched in Japan.
Called the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) system, the exoskeleton will provide the wearer with previously unthinkable abilities and strength.
Developed by a Japanese company called Cyberdyne, HAL was moves only when you want it to move.
It makes use of sensors applied to the skin that detect the feeble electrical currents sent by the brain through the nervous system when it commands a particular activity.
The sensors are connected to a computer that interprets the signal and then sends its own command to electric leg and arm braces. When detected, the appropriate electrical nerve signal, HAL moves a split-second before the leg muscle itself.
The upper-body component of the exoskeleton improves the arm strength.
The suit is calibrated to the user's natural strength, so that weaker users can easily make use of the technology.
Teaming up with companies in Japan and Holland to lease the technology, Cyberdyne is planning to rent out up to 500 lower-body versions of HAL a year, at a cost of about 1,300 pounds per month.
Meant as a rehabilitation tool, HAL will bring mobility and strength to elderly and physically handicapped people.
The technology could also have industrial and military applications.
However, no mention has been been made on the availability of upper-body units as yet.
"Automobiles have been around for a century, but HAL is just beginning," Times Online quoted Cyberdyne chief executive Yoshi-yuki Sankai, as saying.
He added: "Unlike cars, HAL wasn't developed in a one-sided fashion, but by incorporating the views of many people, including end-users."