Honda to Showcase Experimental Walking Assist Device

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will showcase an experimental model of a walking assist device which could support walking for the elderly and other people with weakened leg muscles, at the International Trade Fair on Barrier Free Equipments & Rehabilitation for the Elderly & the Disabled (BARRIER FREE 2008) which will be held at Intex Osaka, Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27, 2008.

Designed for people who are still capable of walking on their own, Honda began research of a walking assist device in 1999 with a goal to provide more people with the joy of mobility. Currently, the device has entered into the feasibility stage.

The cooperative control technology utilized for this device is a unique Honda innovation achieved through the cumulative study of human walking just as the research and development of technologies was conducted for Honda's advanced humanoid robot, ASIMO. 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. With this assist, the user's stride will be lengthened compared to the user's normal stride without the device and therefore the ease of walking is achieved.

The compact design of the device was achieved with flat brushless motors and a control system developed by Honda. In addition, a simple design to be worn with a belt around the hip and thigh was employed to help achieve overall weight as light as approximately 2.8kg. As a result, the device reduces the user's load and can be fit to different body shapes.
The research of this device is being conducted by the Fundamental Technology Research Center of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. in Wako, Saitama, Japan.

Key specifications of the experimental walking assist device

Size 3 sizes (Small, Medium, Large)
Distance between motors
(S)312mm,(M)342mm,(L)372mm
Weight (kg) 2.8 (Medium size)
Drive system (motor/reduction ratio) Brushless DC motor /10
Battery (type/capacity) Lithium ion battery/ 22.2V-1Ah
Operating time per charge 2 hours (when operated at 4.5km/hour walking)

About Honda

Honda Motor Co., Ltd., the world's preeminent engine maker, producing more than 26 million engines annually for a diverse range of products including automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products. Founded in Japan in 1948, Honda began operations in the U.S. in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (www.honda.com), Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Honda began U.S. production of motorcycles in 1979 and automobiles in 1982. Honda began making power equipment products in Swepsonville, North Carolina in 1984, producing engines and lawnmowers. The company has invested more than $10.6 billion in its North American operations, with employment of more than 35,000 associates, and annual purchases of more than $18 billion in parts and materials from suppliers in North America.

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