I saw my friend Brad Stone who is the Silicon Valley correspondant for Newsweek at last week's Maker Faire. He recently wrote a Wired Magazine article about Mecha type robots that I liked, so I keep my eyes open for this type of technology.
Mecha is sort of a mechanical exoskeleton, not totally unlike the Robocop or Six Million Dollar man idea. There is an excellent blog called robotgossip.blogspot.com which has a lot of news regarding robots and there's a post about what a Japanese researcher is doing in this regard. From that blog:
Atsuo Takanishi demonstrated his latest 'walking wheelchair' at Waseda University in Tokyo.The leg-chair was developed at Waseda University's Humanoid Robotics Institute with Tmsuk robot researchers.
A human rides in a chair set on top of the robot legs about four feet up. With its ability to climb stairs it could render wheelchairs totally obsolete.
Well, I'm not sure about the part regarding obsoleting wheelchairs, but it's interesting nonetheless