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29.11.2018 | Original Article

Effects of a cyborg-type robot suit HAL on cardiopulmonary burden during exercise in normal subjects

European Journal of Applied Physiology
Yo Joon Pak, Akira Koike, Hiroki Watanabe, Tomoko Terai, Hiroshi Kubota, Masahumi Takahashi, Hirotomo Konno, Jo Kato, Isao Nishi, Akira Sato, Hiroaki Kawamoto, Kazutaka Aonuma, Masaki Ieda, Yoshiyuki Sankai
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Jean-René Lacour.



The hybrid assistive limb (HAL) is the world’s first cyborg-type robot suit that provides motion assistance to physically challenged patients. HAL is expected to expand the possibilities of exercise therapy for severe cardiac patients who have difficulty in moving on their own legs. As a first step, we examined whether or not the motion assistance provided by HAL during exercise could effectively reduce the cardiopulmonary burden in healthy subjects.


A total of ten healthy male adults (35 ± 12 years) underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPX) on a cycle ergometer with or without assistance from HAL. The CPX protocol consisted of four 3-min stages performed in a continuous sequence: rest, 0 W, 40 W, and 80 W. The heart rate (HR), blood pressure, oxygen uptake (VO2), minute ventilation (VE), and gas exchange ratio (R) were monitored during the CPX.


At 0 W, the HR, VO2, and VE were significantly higher when HAL was used. At 80 W, however, the HR (107 ± 14 vs 114 ± 14 beats/min, p < 0.01), systolic blood pressure (141 ± 15 vs 155 ± 20 mmHg, p < 0.01), VO2 (17.6 ± 2.4 vs 19.0 ± 2.5 mL/min/kg, p < 0.05), and R (0.88 ± 0.04 vs 0.95 ± 0.09, p < 0.05) were significantly lower when HAL was used.


HAL has the potential to reduce cardiopulmonary burden during moderate-intensity exercise and can, therefore, be used as a support for exercise therapy. Further studies on cardiac patients are expected to contribute to the establishment of a new exercise therapy program using HAL.

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