Toyota demonstrated a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk at its Tokyo headquarters today. Named the Welwalk WW-1000 system, the robotic brace is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person’s leg from the knee down. The gadget is designed to be worn on one leg at a time and would primarily be used for rehabilitation purposes.
A patient is strapped into a harness that supports the upper half of the body, and while walking on a treadmill, the robotic leg brace helps to bend and straighten the knee via a small motor. Sensors in the device are able to monitor walking ability and make adjustments quickly if needed. Medical staff controls the system through a touch panel screen, and data collected from the system enables therapists to monitor a patient’s progress more accurately.
One hundred of these wearable robotic leg brace systems will be rented to medical facilities in Japan later this year. Currently the costs include a one-time initial charge of 1 million yen ($9,000) and a 350,000 yen ($3,200) monthly fee for the entire system.
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Source: Popular Mechanics