While we patiently wait for the day where we can replace the lower half of our bodies with a mechanical torso and robotic legs, it looks like we’re one step closer to getting there. Honda recently announced its new Stride Management Assist device that will go into testing late next month. Featuring technology that Honda has acquired over the years creating ASIMO, the Stride Management Assist device is a simple-looking, lightweight device that is designed to help folks with weakened leg muscles (due to age or other causes) with walking.
The girdle-looking device fits around the wearer’s waist while two metal braces that cradle the wearer’s legs. Weighing only 6.2lb (including batteries), it consists of a control computer and a DC motor on each hip. It can last for about 2 hours when the walking at 2.8mph (4.5km/h) which should be plenty of time for most people. The Stride Management Assist works by analyzing the wearer’s stride and boosts it by providing assistance to the thighs when extending the front leg and when the rear leg pushes off.
The device can also monitor a wearer’s heartbeat and make adjustments accordingly to their walking pace and rhythm. This way it can ensure that walkers don’t overstress themselves and could help lower the heart rate of the wearer. By making them walk properly, the wearer’s leg muscles can also be strengthened which means there’s a possibility of their walking function being restored without the aid of machines.