Volunteers assisting with recovery efforts after flooding caused by Typhoon Hagibis earlier this month have got the help of some robots to take the strain.
The center of Daigo Town in Ibaraki Prefecture north of Tokyo was submerged after the typhoon caused a river to burst its banks. A local venture business that developed a wearable lumbar-type labor support device has lent six of them to the town's volunteer center.
The system detects the wearer's movements and activates a motor to support them. Developers say wearing it eases the effort of lifting a load by up to 40 percent.
A male volunteer in his 50s said; "I don't feel any back pain when I'm using this device, so I think it does help to lighten the load."
The town will have the robotic labor supports for about a month. The devices are expected to be used in recovery work as well as for moving relief supplies.