It’s a choice that most people "who are capable of walking and maneuvering on their own, but who can benefit from additional leg and body support while performing tasks” face every morning. What’s more important to me today, reducing the load on my leg muscles or not supporting my body weight almost entirely by my balls?
Now to be fair, I’m sure that Honda has taken things into consideration and made its Experimental Walking Assist Device as comfortable as possible “down there” and your weight may very well be supported a little further back, so let’s give Honda the benefit of the doubt until it comes out with a “Blogging Assist Device” that I can try.
Honda’s first generation assisted walking device was released in April of this year and “was designed for people with weakened leg muscles.” This second version is for otherwise healthy people that do a lot of lifting, standing, and squatting all day. As such, workers in one of Honda’s factories will be testing this device.
1. Convenient sitting-type device
- The individual simply needs to wear shoes and raise the seat into place.
- The user can benefit from the assist without belts fastening the device to their body.
- The structure to position the device between the individual’s legs minimizes the required footprint, therefore making it easier for them to maneuver.
2. Method to assist bodyweight support
- The device will support a portion of the person’s bodyweight by lifting the seat as the frame between the shoe and seat bends and extends, just like knees, with the force from the motor. As a result, the load on leg muscles and joints (in the hip, knees, and ankles) is reduced.
- Honda developed a unique mechanism where the seat and frame follow the movement of the body and legs. The assisting force will be directed toward the individual’s center of gravity, just as with human legs, which enables the device to provide assistance in various movements and postures including walking, going up and down stairs, and in a semi-crouching position.
3. Natural control of the assisting force
- Natural walking is achieved by changing the amount of assisting force applied to the right and left legs through the control of two motors based on the information obtained though sensors imbedded in the shoes of the device.
- The effectiveness of the device was increased in those motions and postures which put increased load on knees, such as going up and down stairs and in a semi-crouching position. This was achieved by adjusting the assisting force in accordance with the bending and stretching motion of the knees.
The device weighs in at around 14 pounds and makes use of two motors and a lithium ion battery that’s good for about two hours of run time. Check out the video at the top of the post to see the apparatus in action.