Honda’s Walking Assist Robot Puts a Spring in Your Step
Steve Leibson - November 7, 2008
Honda Motor Company has revealed an “experimental” industrial/consumer-class lower exoskeleton that helps people walk, stoop, and squat with mechanical assistance. This is a great example of a breakout, mass-market embedded system that uses processors to do more than deliver the latest videos of Britney Spears.
The user “sits” in the 6.5kg device and turns it on. From then on, the exoskeleton walker senses the wearer’s leg movements and assists in the intended motion. The unit’s lithium-ion batteries power it for two hours. Here’s a shot of a production-line worker using the device to help him work on a car.
In addition to its utility for industrial applications, as suggested in the above photo, this device and its successors (with enhanced balance) will undoubtedly find its way into the aging-consumer markets as ready replacements to aluminum walkers with tennis-ball feet. You can see a short, 2-minute video of the device in action here.
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