Japan could become home to the world’s greatest retirement community if this planned “city of robots” in Japan is built.
Start-up firm Cyberdyne, Inc. has announced it plans to build a “city of robots” that includes hospitals and assisted living facilities.
In November, Cyberdyne’s HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) exoskeleton was officially recognized by the government as a medical device. Cybernetic City — as the planned development is currently known — will feature miles of robotic helpers aiding not only in medical care, but industrial and agricultural development. The city’s name is a play on “cybernics,” a field of study embraced by company president Yoshiyuki Sankai combining robotics and neuroscience.
The development will be built in Tsukuba, a city of roughly 223,000 in northern Japan where Cyberdyne Inc. keeps its headquarters. No stranger to great leaps forward, the area is also home the Tsukuba Science City, a planned science park with offices of more than 60 national research institutes and two national universities taking up about half of Japan’s public research and development budget. So the robots should fit right in.
Cyberdyne wrapped a provisional agreement to purchase a little under 21 acres last year for the project at a cost of $54.68 million.
Besides the hospital and senior citizens homes filled with robotic helpers, the city will include a robot-friendly plaza and park. No word yet on how much a home in this techno-thriller come-to-life might cost, but if you do get to be part of this grand social experiment that will give us our first look at how homosapiens will eventually interact with a cybernetic citizenry, try to be good ambassadors for the human race.
As Stephen Hawking would tell you, we need all the robotic goodwill we can get.