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B. Robotic Devices Make Science Fiction A Reality

Narrator: This is Science Today. A team of scientists at the University of California Berkeley wants to make science fiction a reality - and they are off to a good start. Homayoon Kazerooni, a professor at the School of Engineering has developed the first wearable robotic device to enhance human strength, an idea he says has been around for a very long time.

Kazerooni: The whole idea of an exoskeleton evolved through fiction books and movies. And a great number of scientists have actually worked on this project. The very first one started at general electric during the 50's on a project called Hardy Man.

Narrator: Kazerooni's team has been working on the exoskeleton since 1994, and says they managed to succeed where other researchers have failed because of recent advances in computer and sensor technology.

Kazerooni: For example, the Berkeley exoskeleton has more than 40 sensors and all these sensors and actuators talk to each other via a small local area network. The communication is very fast, and that technology was not available during the Fifties.

Narrator: For Science Today I'm Larissa Branin.