< Go to Homepage

Toyota Introduces Robotic Leg Brace to Help Paralyzed People Walk

Technology By
A model demonstrates how the rehabilitation-assist robot Welwalk WW-1000, developed by Japan's Toyota Motor Corporation, helps to assist in flexing and extending the knee while walking on a treadmill during a press preview in Tokyo on April 12, 2017. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)
A model demonstrates how the rehabilitation-assist robot Welwalk WW-1000, developed by Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation, helps to assist walking during a press preview in Tokyo on April 12, 2017.
(Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Toyota’s new leg brace is a huge step forward in helping paralyzed people walk again.

Unveiled Wednesday in Tokyo, the Welwalk WW-1000 is designed for patients who are paralyzed on one side, which is common in stroke victims.

The robotic brace can worn on the paralyzed limb and powered by a motor near the knee, essentially replicating the joint’s function. It helps bend and straighten the knee, working in tandem with embedded sensors that monitor movement and can adjust for greater assistance.

According to the Associated Press, Toyota will rent 100 systems to medical facilities throughout Japan later this year for an initial cost of $9,000 followed by $3,200 per month. The Welwalk can reduce rehab time for patients looking to overcome partial paralysis following a stroke.

The robotic exosystem delivers just enough assistance for patients to help them regain the ability to walk on their own again over time. Physical therapy sessions with the leg brace consist of patients walking on a treadmill while supported with a safety harness.

RealClearLife