Walking assist

November 7, 2008

I’m way behind on my posting.

Remember all those walking robots that the Japanese have been so obsessed with all these years? Journalists took pictures and many people just rolled their eyes condescendingly. “Oh, you can make it dance? Cool, I guess.”

Once you’ve gotten the biomechanics of walking figured out, you can build something like this:

Honda walking apperatus

Honda walking apparatus

Honda

Honda walking apparatus

While Honda built these to reduce employee injuries at their car factories, this tech may be usable in the future by people with  muscle weakness such as those with spinal injuries or MS.

Link to Honda’s publicity blurb on the device.

Here is an older prototype that was demonstrated earlier this year at the International Trade Fair on Barrier Free Equipments & Rehabilitation for the Elderly & the Disabled.

Random musing. How do cultural factors affect acceptance of assistive technologies and people with disabilities in general?

The Japanese as a society love gadgets more Americans (you should see the phones they’ve got there compared to here), but Americans are generally more accepting of people with disability on an everyday basis than the Japanese.

(edited to add) Wait, there’s more!