Honda unveiled their interesting walking assist devices in 2008. Honda announces today that the company is demonstrating its prototype walking assist devices for the first time in the U.S.
The devices will be part of a technical exhibition at the 2009 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress at Detroit’s Cobo Center April 20 – 23.
Intended to support walking for the elderly, people with weakened leg muscles the devices are currently being tested in real-world conditions to evaluate their effectiveness. Honda has applied for more than 130 patents for the devices. The walking gear is inspired by Honda's ASIMO humanoid robot.
The first device, Stride Management Assist, is a lightweight, wearable device designed for people with weakened leg muscles, but who can still walk on their own. It obtains information about the user’s walking motions from hip angle sensors. Based on the information, the CPU applies cooperative control and calculates the amount and timing of the assistance to be provided. With the device’s assistance, the user’s stride is lengthened compared to their normal stride and the walking pace regulated, thereby making it easier to walk.
The second device, Bodyweight Support Assist, is also designed to help people with weakened leg muscles, but may also be helpful during some physically demanding activities. It supports bodyweight to reduce the load on the user’s legs while walking, going up and down stairs, and while standing in a semi-crouching position. The load on leg muscles and joints (in the hip, knees, and ankles) is reduced. This device has a simple structure consisting of seat, frame, and shoes, and the user can put it on by simply wearing the shoes and lifting the seat into position.
You can watch the Honda Walking Assist Devices in action below.