Honda have finally realized that developing and selling a complete humanoid robot at affordable prices is going to take longer than they expected when they invested millions of dollars in the development of ASIMO. Now, Honda wants to take advantage of some of the technology developed for ASIMO to build less complete but still massively useful robotic devices.
As a result, a couple of days ago, Honda unveiled a new robotic leg device which functions similarly to an exoskeleton but has a rather different design as you can tell from the photo at the left. The new device will be of great assistance for the elderly and the disabled.
According to an article by the Daily Telegraph,
The 6.5kg device – consisting of a saddle, leg-like frames and shoes – can reduce the load on users’ legs while walking or climbing and descending stairs by supporting bodyweight, Honda said.
I should mention that Honda’s robotic legs are still in prototype phase; in the meantime, Cyberdyne have already announced that their exoskeleton HAL is now available for renting in Japan. In North America, Sarcos have been developing an exoskeleton for use by the military. Because of these developments, expect exoskeleton technology to advance rapidly over then next few years.
So, without more delay, see below a video of Honda’s robotic legs in action along with additional information about the development, testing, and possible release date for the device.