Honda demonstrates walking assist device
29 April 2008
Honda Motor Co demonstrated an experimental model of a walking assist
device that could support walking for the elderly and other people with
weakened leg muscles at the trade fair Barrier Free Equipments &
Rehabilitation for the Elderly & the Disabled in Osaka, Japan, last
for people who are still capable of walking on their own, 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 co-operative control technology used in the device was developed
by Honda through the cumulative study of human walking, which was also
used in the development of Honda's advanced humanoid robot, ASIMO.
Applying co-operative 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 fitted to
different body shapes.
The device is made in three sizes and is powered by Lithium ion
batteries that give 2 hours of assisted walking.
Honda's unique walking robot ASIMO (which stands for advanced step in
innovative mobility), is designed to help people and is undergoing
continued development. It is hoped that it will eventually assist the
elderly and disabled in their homes.
however, ASIMO is being used to promote the study of maths and science
in schools in the US, and on 13 May will conduct the Detroit Symphony
Orchestra to support its nationally acclaimed music programs for
young people in Detroit. It will conduct the orchestra as it performs
Impossible Dream to open a special concert performance with renowned
cellist Yo-Yo Ma.