Last week, Honda announced today that they were awarded a grant by The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) to research the safety and potential positive impact that Honda’s Walking Assist Device could have in helping people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Honda has partnered with Ohio State University conduct a Phase II randomized controlled trial to study the impact of an eight week intervention using the Walking Assist Device to improve mobility in people with PD.
Press release: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/honda-rd-americas-collaborates-with-the-ohio-state-university-and-the-michael-j-fox-foundation-to-research-walking-assist-device-efficacy-in-people-with-parkinsons-disease-300789381.html
Clinical trial details: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03751371
“Honda Walking Assist” is a training device that efficiently supports walking which is based on the inverted pendulum model, the theory for bipedal walking. It is comprised of three main components: A hip frame which incorporates the control computer and battery, motors which are positioned on both sides and parts to transfer the force of the motors to the legs, and a thigh frame which guides the beginning and kicking movement of the lower legs. People convert movement of the pelvis which is like an inverted pendulum that uses the legs as pivot points into kinetic energy and potential energy in order to achieve smooth and efficient bipedal walking.
Honda Walking Assist detects movement of the hip joint during walking with sensors built into the right and left motors, and guides the beginning and kicking movement of the lower legs by assisting bending and extension of the hip joints with the computer controlled motors. Honda Walking Assist measures and verifies the left-right symmetry, movable angle range, walking speed and other characteristics when walking, and cross-checks these characteristics against the measurement history of the user, enabling the data to be analyzed on a PC.
Product info page: https://global.honda/products/power/walkingassist.html
It’s great to see Honda exploring how this technology could be useful for people with PD.
Samsung was demoing similar technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month. I took a video of their presentation…not the best quality, as I expected to find better videos online…but, this video gives a good overview of what they are calling the Samsung Gait Enhancement and Mobility System (GEMS):