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Put a spring in your step with Walking Assist

Honda's first Walking Device gets a fundamental upgrade
Honda's first Walking Device gets a fundamental upgrade

It's Friday, so it must time for a story about a robot that clamps on to your bottom.

This is no cybernetic Casanova, though, but Honda's second experimental 'Walking Assist' device, a machine to help wobbly walkers get up stairs.

The user sits in a hobby-horse-style saddle connected to a motorised exoskeleton, which partially supports their bodyweight as they move or crouch, reducing the load on leg muscles and joints.

A small step for a robot, a giant leap for mankind

There are no belts or straps - just two shoes that you step into it. The system then uses sensors to control two motors in the legs, working in time with your natural stride in a variety of motions and postures.

The assisting force is directed to your centre of gravity (just like your normal legs), thanks to research carried out at Honda's Fundamental Technology Research Centre (seriously!).

The 6.5kg system is now undergoing real world testing at one of its factories in Sayama, Japan, where a lithium ion battery gives around two hours of operation between charges.

No word yet on price or retail availability but expect keen interest from baby boomers complaining about their creaky knees.