Walking Assist Device Prototype (video)
On November 7, Honda unveiled a prototype walking assist device that helps support the bodyweight of the user. The new walking assist device reduces the load on leg muscles and joints in the hip, knees, and ankles by supporting a portion of the person’s bodyweight. The device has a simple structure consisting of a seat, frame, and shoes, and weighs 6.5kg, including the shoes and the battery. The device is operated on a lithium ion battery and can remain operational for about two hours on a single charge. Natural walking is achieved by changing the amount of assisting force applied to the right and left legs through the control of two motors, based on the information obtained though sensors imbedded in the shoes of the device. Based on the know-how acquired through its study of human walking represented by its advanced humanoid robot ASIMO, Honda has carried out research on walking assist devices, and plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the experimental model in actual environments such as at a factory.