Honda Moves Your Hips
A lot of companies are working on humanoid robotics technology. Honda is applying its own robotics expertise to test out its Stride Management Assist device (SMAd), a lightweight brace that can help people with limited walking ability.
The SMAd fits around the user’s waist via and is held on via belts and thigh braces. The device analyzes the walker’s stride, then raises it to the appropriate level by providing a boost to the thighs. A Li-ion-powered motor drives the unit, which can run for over an hour at a constant speed of 2.8 mph.
In late July, the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (NCGG) announced it would feature the SMAd in its new program to asses elder independence solutions, which begins this month. The results of the NCGG program will be leveraged by the Project to Explore Practical Applications of Service Robots, which is an initiative of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
SMAd grew out of Honda’s work with its ASIMO humanoid robot. Using the same technology, Honda has also developed a Bodyweight Support Assist that reduces the load on the user’s legs while walking, climbing stairs, or in a semi-crouching position. The ASIMO project also led to the U3-X Personal Mobility device, a sort-of high-tech unicycle that can move in any direction.