Honda Begins Monitor Leasing of Walking Assist Device in Japan
Japan--May 30, 2013: Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has begun leasing up to a total of 100 units* of the Walking Assist Device to hospitals in Japan that provide rehabilitation training / physical therapy in the area of walking, to monitor its use and verify the practicality of the device.
Striving to offer the joy of mobility to more people, Honda began research and development of the Walking Assist Device in 1999. As with ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot, the Walking Assist Device adopts cooperative control technology that was developed based on Honda's cumulative study of human walking. The control computer activates motors based on information obtained from hip angle sensors while walking to improve the symmetry of the timing of each leg lifting from the ground and extending forward, and to promote a longer stride for an easier walk.
The compact design of the device and overall weight of less than 2.6 kg were achieved through the adoption of thin motors and a control system that were developed independently by Honda, as well as a simple design that enables the device to be worn with belts. As a result, the device is less of a burden on the user and suitable for various body sizes.
From the early stages of the research and development of the Walking Assist Device, Honda has been working together with medical corporations, businesses and research institutions. Through this process, Honda has received positive feedback from recipients of walking training / therapy, physical therapists, medical doctors and researchers who acknowledge certain effectiveness and compatibility of the device in the rehabilitation.
To date, Honda has conducted collaborative research on rehabilitation training / physical therapy using the Walking Assist Device in seven hospitals. Honda is now inviting a broader range of hospitals to participate in this monitoring process by leasing a total of 100 units of the Walking Assist Device to gain more opinion and feedback from real-world users to further improve the functions and usability of the device.
Based on the spirit upon which Honda was founded – "utilizing technology to help people" – Honda will continue its proactive efforts to realize practical use of products useful to people.
* A total of 50 sets of an M-size and a L-size devices will be leased, with one set per hospital. A total of 50 hospitals will be using the devices for the purpose of monitoring its use.