With Japan's increasingly aging population in mind, Yaskawa Electric has developed the Ankle Walking Assist Device as potentially the first assistive exoskeleton to date.
Slated to be released in 2015, the Ankle Walking Assist Device is a robotic boot that is fitted on to the user's foot like a cast using several straps around the foot and one around the shin. A waist-mounted battery pack is connected to the boot by a cable, and, when the boot senses that the heel makes contact with the ground, gives a powered boost to assist the user in keeping a consistent walking pace. The amount of power that the boots provide can be adjusted, and will help the user maintain balance and keep them walking.
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