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Click on the image to see more pics of Honda's Walking Assist Device

While Honda is known primarily for its cars and motorcycles, the company's engineering prowess extends into many other areas, as well. You may be aware that Honda also makes a jet and the ridiculously advanced robot known as Asimo. It appears that after reliably getting Asimo to walk on its own, Honda is phasing some of its robotics technology into other worthwhile endeavors, namely an experimental walking assist device for disabled individuals. Honda's Fundamental Technology Research Center will be showcasing the device at the International Trade Fair on Barrier Free Equipments & Rehabilitation for the Elderly & the Disabled, which will be held at Intex Osaka, Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27, 2008. Available in three sizes, the device uses brushless DC motors powered by lithium ion batteries that allow up to two hours of walking assistance per charge. I'm just glad that my grandmother will soon be able to throw her old fashioned walker in the air, and wave it like she just don't care.

[source: Honda]

Honda to Showcase Experimental Walking Assist Device at BARRIER FREE 2008

TOKYO, Japan, April 22, 2008– Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will showcase an experimental model of a walking assist device which could support walking for the elderly and other people with weakened leg muscles(*), at the International Trade Fair on Barrier Free Equipments & Rehabilitation for the Elderly & the Disabled (BARRIER FREE 2008) which will be held at Intex Osaka, Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27, 2008 (Organizers: Osaka Prefecture Council of Social Welfare and Television Osaka Inc.)

Honda began research of a walking assist device in 1999 with a goal to provide more people with the joy of mobility. Currently, the device has entered into the feasibility stage.

The cooperative control technology utilized for this device is a unique Honda innovation achieved through the cumulative study of human walking just as the research and development of technologies was conducted for Honda's advanced humanoid robot, ASIMO. Applying cooperative control based on the information obtained from hip angle sensors, the motors provide optimal assistance based on a command from the control CPU. With this assist, the user's stride will be lengthened compared to the user's normal stride without the device and therefore the ease of walking is achieved.

The compact design of the device was achieved with flat brushless motors and a control system developed by Honda. In addition, a simple design to be worn with a belt around the hip and thigh was employed to help achieve overall weight as light as approximately 2.8kg. As a result, the device reduces the user's load and can be fit to different body shapes.

The research of this device is being conducted by the Fundamental Technology Research Center of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. in Wako, Saitama.

Honda is planning to offer interested attendees an opportunity to wear and experience this walking assist device at the Honda booth at BARRIER FREE 2008.
(*) This device is designed for people who are still capable of walking on their own.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Now if only its affordable and covered by Medicare. Many elderly can't afford to finance it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      My father suffered a stroke 4 yrs. ago at 50 yrs. old and he has a weakened right leg, since the stroke affected the left side of his brain. In my opinion, he does not obtain enough stimuli in the hospital to make a full recovery and this new idea would help.
      I believe this invention could be revolutionary in caring for adults and the elderly alike, this would save a lot of strain and give families some peace of mind.
      What is this product called? When will it become available and what will the price tag be?
      • 7 Years Ago
      What would really be cool is making one that moved all your limbs, and instantly makes you an 8th degree black belt in Kung Fu or track star.....

      wait better yet....just build me robots that kick peoples asses and run around all day for me...so I can stay home and play 679 expansion pack of World of Warcraft...wait maybe you should make me a robot for that too so I can sleep more.....

      • 7 Years Ago
      I have a mental image of senior citizens buzzing around the mall with these things, wearing spoilers on their shoulders, Type-R decals on their foreheads and fart-can mufflers sticking out their a**es.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They are also working on an integrated "Depends" undergarment that double as an airbag if you fall down.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Where's the cup holders and Ipod adapter?
      • 7 Years Ago
      hmm, doesn't seem like it deals with instability in the knee, which I would think is a pretty important issue with the elderly. Walkers are mainly for balance, right?

      Seems like all it would do is enable perfectly healthy people to walk farther distances without getting tired (as pictured)
        • 7 Years Ago
        I wonder how much oil this thing will burn when the V-TEC goes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      is that A-VTEC?... bummer...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Where is the fart can muffler?
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's original.
      • 6 Years Ago
      actually i want this device for my mother who cant walk because of the knee pain. she is an aurthristis patient. i wonder if she will be able to walk after using this device..
      • 7 Years Ago
      2 hours of walking time? If Granpma walks 2 hours she will need more than this! Is honda working on an artificial heart too?
      • 7 Years Ago
      That HONDA emblazoned ass-pad is the perfect place to put a TYPE-R badge.
        Neli BH
        • 2 Years Ago
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