Honda Motor Co., Ltd has been working on the development of the Walking Assist Device since 1999. As with the ASIMO robot, Honda’s humanoid robot, the Walking Assist Device uses new control technologies. The Honda Walking Assist Device has been tested at 50 hospitals in Japan as well as a clinical research study which has been conducted at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) since 2013. Honda has received positive feedback from users, physical therapists, medical professionals, and researchers, all of which acknowledge the effectiveness of the device for rehabilitation.
Now this coming November, the Honda will start leasing the Walking Assist Device (approx. 450 units/1st year) to Japanese hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. The device can help training of walking and guiding to achieve effective walking for persons with reduced walking ability due to injury, illness or other causes (i.e. stroke). The key features of the Walking Assist Device are compact, lightweight, and easy to put it on because it is worn outside of clothing. The Walking Assist Device influences the user to achieve motions such as bending and extending both legs. It also helps user’s leg motions which enable smooth shifting of weight from heel to sole and sole to toe. One article in the Honda Website described as follows: “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 backward, and to promote a longer stride for easier walking.”