Japanese company Cyberdyne is the first to mass-produce a robotic exoskeleton. HAL, which stands for 'hybrid assistive limb', consists of a pair of robotic legs and arms that strap onto a person's limbs and reinforce their movement. At a total weight of 23 kg for the full suit HAL is comparably light weight.
According to Cyberdyne a full battery charge allows continuous operation for 2 hours 40 minutes. Unlike some other exoskeletons which rely on detecting motion to activate the suit, HAL relies on nerve impulses detected on the skin surface. This makes the suit suitable for some disabled persons unable to move their limbs without assistance. The suit can also assist people performing jobs that require a great deal of physical strength.
For a start, Cyberdine will produce up to 500 exoskeletons per year. In Japan the lower part of the robot suit will also be available for rent for US$2,200 for both legs and $1,500 for one leg per month starting today.
Some links around the web.