Honda demonstrates its prototype walking assist devices for the first time in the U.S
Honda is demonstrating its prototype walking assist devices for the first time in the U.S. Intended to support walking for the elderly; people with weakened leg muscles the Honda Prototype Walking Assist Devices are currently being tested in real-world conditions to evaluate their effectiveness. The company has applied for more than 130 patents for the devices. 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.
The Honda Prototype Walking Assist 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. Prior to the Detroit event, Honda will demonstrate the devices for selected media in New York.