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Japan

An Aging Japan Turns To Exoskeletons For Elder Care

Japan has become a leader in developing technology to aid not just elderly or otherwise limited people conduct everyday chores but also for the medical, defense and aviation industries in a country with a shrinking work force.

Testing an ActiveLink exoskeleton
Testing an ActiveLink exoskeleton
Jonas Pulver

TOKYO — It takes the engineer about two minutes to adjust the exoskeleton. It's worn like a rucksack, with large straps around the chest to hold it tight. The rest is made up of two disks located on the hips, at the body's rotation axis, and thin rods join cushions on the front part of the thighs. The whole device weighs a little over 6 kilos (13 pounds), distributed between shoulders and thighs.

In front of you, a 30-kilo (66 pounds) water-bottle crate awaits lifting. The first attempt, without the exoskeleton, results in immediate tension in your lower back muscles, and you start to feel fatigue after just two movements. But for the second try, the engineer activates the device. You lift up the crate five, six, seven times in a row without effort. The thrust intervenes on your thighs and upper chest. The movement is quick, almost abrupt, but is still controllable.

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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