At a press conference in Tokyo last week, Toyota unveiled a quartet of healthcare robots that will help paralyzed patients with walking, balance and transportation. Although Toyota stretches the definition of robot a bit, applying it to these assistive devices, one of which is not much more than an elegant forklift, it is an intriguing set of devices nonetheless.
First is the Walk Training Assist robot, which helps patients walk by using sensors to detect the intention to make a walking movement, and subsequently helping in swinging the knee forward.
Second is the Independent Walk Assist, which does the same, but also supports the patient’s weight, gradually reducing support as the patient advances his training.
Third is the Balance Training Assist, a Segway-like device that acts as a balancing game, letting patients train by playing tennis, soccer or basketball on a monitor.
Last but not least, is the Patient Transfer Assist, which can lift and transport patients in a way similar to how a person would do.
Toyota plans to have the robots production-ready by 2013. Below is a video by DigInfo TV with more information: