Toyota unveils a £7,000 Iron Man-style robotic leg that could help paralysed people walk again

Sharing addisinformer is caring!

Toyota is introducing an Iron Man-style robotic leg brace designed to help partially-paralysed people walk.

The Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person’s leg from the knee down.

The robot assistant could help older people left partially paralysed after a stroke, Toyota claims.

Scroll down for video

The patients can practice walking wearing the robotic device on a special treadmill that can support their weight.

Toyota demonstrated the equipment at its Tokyo headquarters on Wednesday.

One hundred such systems will be rented to medical facilities in Japan later this year, Toyota said.

The service entails a one-time initial charge of 1 million yen ($9,000, £7,300) and a 350,000 yen ($3,200, £2,500) monthly fee.

The gadget is designed to be worn on one leg at a time for patients severely paralysed on one side of the body due to a stroke or other ailments, Eiichi Saito, a medical doctor and executive vice president at Fujita Health University, said.

The university joined with Toyota in developing the device.

A person demonstrating it strapped the brace to her thigh, knee, ankle and foot and then showed how it is used to practice walking on the treadmill.

Her body was supported from above by a harness and the motor helped to bend and straighten her knee.

Sensors in the device monitor the walking and adjust quickly to help out. Medical staff control the system through a touch panel screen.

Japanese automakers have been developing robotics both for manufacturing and other uses.

Hondas humanoid can run and dance, pour a drink and carry on simple conversations, while WelWalk is more of a system that uses robotics than a stand-alone robot.

Given how common paralysis due to strokes is in fast-ageing Japan, US and Europe, Toyota’s device could be very helpful, Dr Saito said.

He said patients using it can recover more quickly as the sensitive robotic sensor in Welwalk fine-tunes the level of support better than a human therapist can.

Sharing addisinformer is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *