Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Adventurers Plan To Climb Swiss Peak In Robo-Suits
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 6, 2006

TOKYO, JAPAN--Twenty years ago, while gazing at a calendar photograph of the majestic 14,693-foot (4,478-meter) Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, Seiji Uchida decided he just had to go there.

Such a climb seemed impossible at the time, however, as Uchida was recuperating from a 1983 auto accident in which his spine was severely damaged. Later, during a 1998 visit to Switzerland, the adventurer's hopes faded when he found he could not get his wheelchair anywhere near the summit.

His hopes returned last October, when he saw a new technology being demonstrated on television.

And this coming August, Uchida plans to scale the Matterhorn's 13,661-foot (4,164-meter) neighbor, Breithorn peak, with the help of a robot and a friend.

The robot's name is "HAL", which shares its name with the evil computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey", but actually stands for 'hybrid assistive limb', and is a kind of walking suit or wearable robot. HAL boosts the wearer's muscle strength, and anticipates the wearer's next moves by detecting natural electrical impulses on the skin.

Friend, physical therapist, and experienced climber Takeshi Matsumoto will wear the HAL suit, and carry Uchida piggyback style up the mountain. Kyoga Ide, a 16-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy, will accompany the pair, scaling the mountain on the shoulders of another climber wearing a HAL suit.

"I am trying to create new possibilities for the disabled as well as realize a dream," Uchida told the Japan Times. "My hope is that through this I can give courage and hope to all disabled people in difficult circumstances."

Uchida will be using the event to raise money for his charity, "With Dreams", which aims to help people to experience adventures they thought were off limits to them because of their disabilities.

"Robot suit to give quadriplegic a lift" (Japan Times)
Robot Suit HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb)
Frequently Asked Questions About HAL (Cyberdyne)


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.