Honda Leases Walking Assist Device In Japanese Hospitals

According to Honda, the company was founded on the philosophy of “utilizing technology to help people”. We normally associate such technology to be the company’s automotive division which has given us fuel-efficient and green vehicles like the Honda Insight and Civic hybrids, and Fit electric vehicle (EV). Well, the automaker includes helping people to walk as well as part of that philosophy.

The Honda Walking Assist Device is a special harness that, like its name, assists aged, injured, or disabled individuals in walking. The company recently announced plans to lease 100 units of the device to hospitals around Japan. Each one will receive two devices, with one for medium-sized patients and the other for larger individuals. Data from real-world use of the harnesses will be used to improve their functionality and usability, says Honda.

Honda Walking Assist Device harness

Image courtesy of Honda

The company started R &D on the Walking Assist Device back in 1999, working with medical corporations, businesses and research institutions to develop it. Both the assist harness and the humanoid ASIMO robot utilize Honda’s extensive studies in human walking. Sensors monitor the hip angle of the person as they’re walking and transmit the information to a control computer built within the device.

The computer then activates the onboard motors to assist in improving the timing and symmetry of the person’s gait. Their stride is also lengthened as well for an easier walk. The entire setup is powered by a lithium-ion battery that gives roughly an hour of mobility before needing to be recharged. The entire device, in total, weighs around five pounds, which includes the battery. It is unknown if Honda plans to make the Walking Assist Device ever available to the public or even test it overseas.

Honda Walking Assist Device woman

Image courtesy of Honda

The Honda Walking Assist Device is but one of the latest innovations in individual transportation technology developed by the company. Other personal mobility devices include the single-wheel UX-3, the similar UNI-CUB, and the 3R-C concept EV, which looks something straight out of the science-fiction movie Tron.

Joel Arellano is a writing professional for over two decades, working in such diverse industries as finance, aerospace, telecomm, and medical devices. He has covered the automotive industry for more than six years, and his articles and blog posts can found on at Autoblog, Autoblog Green, Automotive.com, motortrend.com, trucktrend.com, and automobilemag.com.

    • Chris Jordan

      Fascinating! On a treadmill while hanging on, I have even gait; but my balance is so bad that if I let go I would fall immediately. Hopefully a balance assist will be Hondas next invention! However; in the meantime- a “hot-rod” power wheelchair is cool!