NanaTechnology: Robotics Research for Assistive Walking Devices

Innovation and technology to help seniors and persons with disabilities is always evolving. The world is a vast place, and innovators span the globe. While Silicon Valley leads the way to the future in many ways, one innovation that has great potential for improving the lives of seniors and persons with disabilities is being developed thousands of miles away, across the mighty Pacific, in another locale known for technological advancement.

Japan is home to a thriving, innovative culture and Honda, best known for the prevalent Civics and Accords that fill highways, has been developing two devices that may assist older adults and others with mobility issues as they walk, offering support and assistance to maintain independence.

Honda’s new devices — Stride Management Assist and Bodyweight Support Assist — are not yet available. The experimental walking assist devices offer support to those who have weakened leg muscles and have difficulty walking but are still able to bear some if not all of their body weight.

The Stride Management Assist is a belt the hooks around the waist and thighs. A motor helps lift the thighs and move the individual forward and backward. The Bodyweight Support Assist helps support bodyweight, and reduces the load on the user’s legs while walking. A seat supports the user between the legs and a frame connects the seat along the shape of the user’s legs to connect to a supportive shoe.

The device is being tested among Japanese seniors and has been featured at exhibits around the U.S. and improvements are being made before release. The tools and products available to assist seniors are always evolving and technology has the ability to improve lives and support seniors as they continue to age well at home.

If you have questions on technologies to help seniors and caregivers, call Information & Assistance at (408) 350-3200, option 1.

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