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Sumitomo bank to use robotic technology to help elderly workers carry more weight

Japan-based Sumitomo Mitsui Banking (SMBC) will be using robotic technology to help elderly employees lift heavy stacks of cash.

The country’s second-largest bank by assets will be equipping its elderly employees with robotic suits that would help them carry the weight effortlessly.

The bank has entered into an agreement with robots manufacturer Cyberdyne for renting eight of its Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) suits for employees at its delivery service unit that is responsible for moving cash between sites.

With the help of the suit, the weight of heavy containers carrying cash would feel 40% lighter and would relieve around 16% workers at the unit who are above the age of 65.

The Wall Street Journal quoted an SMBC spokesman Tomoyuki Narita as saying: "There have been many cases when a physical burden was placed on senior employees carrying heavy parcels of bank notes and coins. By adopting Cyberdyne’s robotic suits, we can help reduce that burden."

"We are currently placing the robotic suits at four outposts, but we’ll consider adding them in more places including the bank’s branches after assessing the effects.

By using HAL, a user’s strength will be enhanced. The suit would make an object of 10-pound weight weigh around 6 pounds.

Once the pilot program shows some positive effects, Sumitomo might further expand it to its other branches across Japan.

While robots are already in use at certain Japanese banks, this is for the first time that Cyberdyne’s technology will be implemented by a financial institution.