Thursday, April 30, 2009

Honda's Robo-Legs Uncovered

The days of crutches and supports have gone. The Japanese automotive giant and a pioneer in humanoid robots, Honda has come up with a new robot technology that helps people with difficulty in walking. Its like a robotic leg, an exoskeleton you may call it but it looks just cool. Its not the stuff of movies anymore but it out here.

Inspired by Honda's advance robot Asimo, Honda has developed the technology from there. It has two products- Stride Management Assist and Bodyweight Support Assist.

The Stride Management Assist is an easily wearable lightweight device that helps people with difficulties in walking but still can walk on their own. Applying cooperative control based on the information obtained from hip angle sensors, the motors provide optimal assistance based on a command from the control CPU.

The other device, Bodyweight Support Assist, also assist in walking as well as in some physically challenging tasks. It supports body weight to reduce the load on the users legs and also supports movement. It supports the user while walking, climbing stairs and also in a crouched position. It is easy to wear with a simple structure consisting of a chair, shoes and a frame.

These devices are being tested in Honda's assembly lines. The lithium-ion battery is good for two hours of crouching or walking — an interval that matches up nicely with break times.

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