Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) has come up with a high-tech answer to a low-tech problem: fitting out elderly employees with robotic suits to help them lift heavy stacks of cash.
The bank has struck a deal with Cyberdyne to rent eight of the robot manufacturer's HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) suits for workers at its SMBC Delivery Service unit, which ferries cash between sites.
The suits, usually used in the medical profession, will support the backs of older workers, making heavy containers of cash feel up to 40% lighter, easing the burden on the 16% of workers at the unit that are over 65, says a statement.
The agreement marks a first for the use of Cyberdyne technology by a financial institution, although robots have already been put to work by Japanese banks. Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ recently outlined plans to employ two foot tall robots as greeters in Tokyo branches.