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Freedom of Motion: The Story of Honda Walking Assist

Imagine how much easier it would be to perform a physically demanding activity with a “lighter” body.

Better yet, imagine if there were a way to help people with restricted mobility to walk more easily and to stand or crouch more comfortably for longer periods of time.

Those are the questions Honda associates asked as we began to dream up our Walking Assist robotic devices back in 1999. And today, we’ve achieved our goal of developing an affordable, effective product to help people stay mobile.

Developed and tested fully by Honda, our experimental Walking Assist system helps support bodyweight to reduce the load on the user’s legs while walking, going up and down stairs, and staying in a semi-crouching position, leading to reduced fatigue and less physical exertion.

With a Little Help from Our Robots

Walking Assist came about thanks to knowledge gleaned from our development of ASIMO, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot. The cumulative study of human walking, along with the considerable research and technological development conducted to make ASIMO move like a person, led the way to our first working Walking Assist prototypes.

After further breakthroughs, we continued to enhance our model. The result is a lightweight (14.33 lbs., including the battery pack) dual-motor device that propels the wearer forward almost effortlessly. A single charge of its lithium ion battery yields two hours of walking or semi-crouching.

Honda has applied for over 130 patents pertaining to our Walking Assist devices, and in July 2015 we officially made the product available in Japan for the public to purchase. We’ve also introduced varying model sizes to correspond to different people’s heights and to maximize comfort.

Eventually, Walking Assist might be used for other uses, including everyday activities such as sightseeing and even in some working environments. Today it is our hope that those who may struggle to walk or stand will find Walking Assist to be a remarkable advancement for their ability to enjoy the joy and freedom of mobility.