helps with correct stride and assistance for forward movement, and the other which is meant for supporting your weight while doing tasks that require lots of bending at the knee. The former is intended to help the elderly, the disabled and those suffering from muscle or joint weakness walk more easily, and the latter is geared towards workers who are constantly performing leg and knee movements that can cause strain or injury. Since most of the editors at Engadget are unnaturally, monstrously large (like if Frankenstein and The Thing had a child out of wedlock) -- and could therefore only fit into one of the devices -- we brought along our more reasonably sized intern, Kevin Wong, to step up into the other's shoes (which he did with aplomb). Perhaps the most interesting facts we went away with today were about Honda's attitude on their new technology; they seemed adamantly against selling the stride-boosting stilts to the military, but they do plan on selling them at a consumer level (a la car and motorcycle sales), and... they didn't seem too keen on our ideas about outfitting our "gang" with them for help doing murders. Oh well. Check out the wildly entertaining video of all the action after the break, and enjoy a swim in the stacked gallery below.

Update: Since some of you have asked, we'll try to explain a little like what walking with the legs (the ones in the above picture at least) was like. Firstly, the leg motors run on a kind of timer, once you start moving, the computer on-board gets a "sense" of how quickly you'll be walking and begins to push and pull the motor to that rhythm. As you speed up or slow down, you can feel that "timer" catching up. The general feeling wasn't that it was adding that much to our movement -- it's obviously intended for those with some issues already, not people who are necessarily walking normally. Still, you could definitely feel the "legs" exerting a kind of tension on your muscles as you moved back and forth, and the feeling of having more power in your gait was absolutely present. Kevin's description of the second unit was that it was more difficult to walk (and there was no push / pull of a timer), but that he could sense the unit supporting his weight -- though it wasn't as if he could simply put all of his weight on the device. That unit certainly seemed to have a more substantial impact for those without a medical issue or related impediment. If you've got more specific questions, feel free to let us know in comments and we'll try to answer them!

Engadget goes legs-on with Honda's walking-assist devices

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Engadget goes legs-on with Honda's walking-assist devices (with video!)