It’s always good when robot researchers work to find way to improve the lives of people, but this new “close-fitting” robotic walking aid, developed by researchers from three Japanese universities, looks like it still needs some work. If I understand correctly, it’s for people who have trouble walking but don’ want to use crutches, for instance.
The aid can also be used for rehabilitation purposes. It’s more of a kit, which consists of a battery, a motor, a computer and other gear that can be carried in a backpack. The driving force is transmitted through a flexible shaft made of twisted piano wire, which actually makes it hard to achieve the desired result: developing a discreet walking aid.
At this point, the aid looks pretty hacky overall, especially if you compare it with vaguely similar solutions like exoskeleton HAL-5, but the researchers say they will work 5 more years to get a practical version ready.
This video (shot by DigInfoNews in Tokyo) shows the walking aid in action: