Robotics engineer Yoshiyuki Sankai, 56, has been driven by his passion for innovative technology for about half a century.

"Since my childhood, I've been thinking about how technology can be applied to people and society to help them," said Sankai, CEO of Ibaraki-based Cyberdyne Inc.

Sankai turned his passion into reality with HAL, a robotic suit that helps the disabled and elderly walk and that has been spreading globally over the years.