Honda Debuts Walking Assist DevicePosted on April 14th, 2009
Two new devices help mobilize people with weakened leg muscles
As the daughter of a polio victim, I’m always excited to see new technology that enhances personal mobility. Two new devices from Honda do just that, by helping individuals with weakened leg muscles walk and do other weight-bearing activities.
Honda has been researching personal mobility since 1999, using a humanoid robot called ASIMO. The company will debut its prototypes in the US at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, which takes place in Detroit next week.
The first device, called Stride Management Assist is designed for people with weakened leg muscles who can still walk on their own. It obtains information about the user’s gait from hip angle sensors. The device can increase stride length and maintain a normal cadence, making it easier to walk.
The Bodyweight Support Assist reduces the load on leg muscles and joints while going up and down stairs and standing in a semi-crouched position. The device consists of a seat, frame and shoes. The user puts it on by wearing the shoes and lifting the seat into position.
Honda is currently testing its mobility devices in real-world conditions, for use by the elderly and other individuals with weakened leg muscles. The company has applied for over 130 patents for the devices.
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