Natural disasters are never far away in Japan. So it's comforting to know that Matsushita/Panasonic has decided to commercialise the latest version of its robotic rescue exoskeleton there, starting in August.

For ¥20 million (£82,000), the super-rich and the super-well-prepared alike will be able to pick up their very own Power Pedal robot - a machine designed to lift and separate.

Medical uses too

In this case the idea is that it lifts their crushed bodies and separates them from tons of earthquake-devastated masonry, before rushing them to the nearest rescue point.

The robotic legs, which were developed together with Ritsumeikan University , are also likely to be used to help those unable to walk for medical reasons. So it's likely the first takers will be retirement homes for elderly gadget fans.