Spinal cord injury and muscular dystrophy can result in symptoms from simple inhibition of movement to paralysis. This article discusses HAL, a wearable exoskeleton, that allows individuals inflicted with these conditions to regain some degree of movement.
The article does not explicitly cite a scientific paper from which it obtained information; however, consultation of major papers on the subject suggested that the statements made were in fact accurate. Further, it should be noted that as the article was not based directly on a scientific paper, certain criteria in the index were left blank. These include items such as “News story mentions article intent” and several others.
Claims made throughout the article are not misleading; the information presented is accurate and does not contain the author’s explicit opinion of the findings, neither does it contain logical fallacies. Although the author does use a minor degree of sensationalist language, the vernacular is largely neutral and appropriate for the intended audience. Yet there is bias in the article, the only reputable opinion provided in the text is that of the scientist, Yoshiyuki Sankai, who developed the technology.
Although the article is of high quality in its claims, it fails to substantiate them with credited sources. This prevents the reader from easily accessing relevant scientific texts for further reading. Additionally, the article displays numerous advertisements throughout the webpage that often obstruct portions of the text; at times, this makes the article difficult to read.
The story describes the use of HAL technology in the United States and the business views of the company’s founder Yoshiyuki Sankai. The Japanese company Cyberdyne was founded in 2004 with the purpose of creating robotic assistance technologies for health care and industry. In late 2017, the FDA approved HAL for Medical Use as a gait training device for rehabilitation. The article does not accurately represent this story by misleading the reader in suggesting that HAL is “-- essentially a wearable cyborg -- … [that] patients use their brain waves to control…”. While most of the scientific information is described in an oversimplified although accurate manner, the article fails to provide appropriate context for the research. The intent of the article is rather obscure and undefined for the reader, as well there are no sources for their claims. Overall, the article does not accurately represent the scientific process.
The title skews the main view of the article. The article discusses HAL as a tool for rehabilitation and HAL as a business model—the article is not about cyborgs. Additionally, the intent of article is not mentioned. The news article does not follow the release of any new research into HAL and is one year after the release of HAL in the USA and seven years after the release of HAL in Japan.
The article has issues with unsupported and unjustified claims. The story contains misleading claims, for example “Here's what's truly mind-blowing: Patients use their brain waves to control them.” This suggests that the patient has conscious control of how the HAL rehabilitation support equipment is functioning. This is a false claim. As well, the claim “HAL -- essentially a wearable cyborg –” is a casual unsourced claim that does not accurately describe the intent or function of HAL.
The article fails to mention how long HAL technology has been in use, and that it only appeared in the USA after FDA approval as a device for medical use. Further, the author exaggerates HAL technology by calling it “cyborg” and “mind controlled”
Hassan, M., Kadone, H., Suzuki, K., & Sankai, Y. (2014). Wearable gait measurement system with an instrumented cane for exoskeleton control. Sensors, 14(1), 1705-1722.
Sankai, Y. (2010). HAL: Hybrid assistive limb based on cybernics. Robotics Research (pp. 25-34). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Noughaby & Vossoughi. (2018). The Control of an Exoskeleton and The Reduction of Interaction Force Using Human Intent Detection by EMG. Proceedings of the 6th RSI International Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics. 536–541.
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