For a company most famous for its wheeled
products, Honda certainly seems quite focused on things to help people get about on their own two feet, introducing another new prototype machine with just that in mind. Unlike the earlier Walking Assist Device
, which is intended just to help patients re-learn how to walk, the new (and cunningly named) Walking Assist Device with Bodyweight Support System
is for anyone who needs a lift -- even those who are perfectly healthy. To use it you basically straddle a bicycle seat with robotic legs, tie it to your shoes, and then (gingerly) go about your business, uncomfortably demonstrated in a video after the break. The legs support your body when you crouch and give little tugs on your feet when you walk, making bipedal mobility less of a strain. A Honda engineer said "It reduces stress, and you should feel less tired." Less tired, yes, and less exercised too. We envision a future where spindly robotic legs shudder under the weight of our grossly obese frames -- but maybe we've seen Wall-E too many times.
[Via Associated Press