Honda is not widely known as a company making waves in the stroke rehab market, but it’s been perfecting a motorized walking assist device for at least six years now and has been researching similar technologies to help people stay mobile (see flashbacks below). Now its latest version of the Honda Walking Assist Device or Stride Management Assist (SMA) is going to be tested by the renowned Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) as an aid in post-stroke rehab.
The device weighs 6 pounds and a battery charge should be enough for at least an hour of walking time. It’s worn on the outside of the clothes and once activated, the built-in sensors recognize one’s position and leg movements, triggering the device’s arms to pull on the legs as needed to maintain a healthy gait.
From the announcement:
As with ASIMO, Honda’s humanoid robot, the Walking Assist Device adopts cooperative control technology*4 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 backward, and to promote a longer stride for easier walking. The compact design of the device was achieved through the adoption of thin motors and a control system developed by Honda, as well as a simple design with adjustable belts that enables the device to be worn by people of varied body size.
Provided by: Honda press release