Toyota develops machine to help paralyzed patients walk again
The device is intended to help those with lower limb injuries re-learn how to walk.
Toyota has announced a new product that will help people get around, but it's not a car. The Welwalk WW-1000 is an "active extension, flexion and rotation movement device" that helps individuals with lower limb paralysis learn how to walk again.
Toyota envisions the WW-1000 as a device that can help victims of limb injury or stroke rehabilitate. The main body of the machine is essentially a treadmill, but it comes with cables and supports that descend from a structure above the user to help them walk. There is even a robotic leg that helps the patient move his or her own.
Of course, all of the functions are carefully monitored, and the WW-1000 includes algorithms based on motor learning theory, and analyze the patient's "gait characteristics." Large touchscreen monitors for both doctors and patients help control the device and provide feedback.
Development of the WW-1000 falls under Toyota's Partner Robot division, which has created everything from androids that can play musical instruments to R2D2-like assistants for bedridden patients. Rental of the WW-1000 to medical facilities in Japan will begin in the fall of 2017.