Toyota to begin trial leasing of physical rehabilitation aid robots to medical facilities in Japan
Toyota will begin trial leasing of newly developed clinical research versions of its Walk Training Assist and Balance Training Assist robots to 20 medical facilities in Japan this autumn. The clinical research versions are improved versions of those announced in 2011 as part of the Toyota Partner Robot series. The improved robots are aimed to help in the rehabilitation of patients who find it difficult to walk or maintain balance due to illness or injury. Walk Training Assist aids all stages of rehabilitation for patients that are unable to walk due to lower limb paralysis. Walk Training Assist assists limb movement by aiding leg swing, knee straightening and body-weight support.
A Balance Training Assist robot uses a game interface for enjoyable independent balance training. Two-wheeled Winglet personal transport device links body movement with an in-game avatar. Development of the new robots began at the end of 2007 in collaboration with Fujita Health University Hospital in Toyoake, Aichi Prefecture.
Since 2011, Toyota has been working with medical facilities to test and improve the robots, particularly in regard to improving user-friendliness by streamlining training functions based on motor-learning theory. With the ultimate goal of helping to achieve mobility for all, Toyota is aiming to commercialize the Walk Training Assist and Balance Training Assist robots as soon as possible.