Toyota Introduces Rental Service for Exoskeleton Device, It Helps Patients Walk

Toyota will offer a rental service in Japan for its exoskeleton robotic system named Welwalk WW-1000.
Toyota's Welwalk WW-1000 9 photos
Photo: Toyota
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The device will be available starting in the fall of this year, and it is meant to help rehabilitate patients who have lower limb paralysis. Toyota developed this unit to aid people who could not walk any more after they suffered a stroke or other medical causes that led to disease.

It would be too expensive to offer the system to individuals, so Toyota has decided to rent it to medical facilities. Walk Training Assist robots from the automaker have been installed in 23 medical centers throughout Japan in the past three years.

In the future, the developments made on these devices will lead to systems that will help other patients walk. Before that milestone is reached, the company wants to rent 100 units to medical facilities in its homeland.

The Welwalk WW-1000 works with two elements - the central body and a robotic leg. The former consists of a monitor that is attached to a treadmill. The second unit, which we referred to as an exoskeleton, is a robotic leg that will help patients bend their knees and stretch their legs.

The artificial legs weigh approximately six kilograms (13 lbs), so they will not be a burden to sue, but the central unit is significantly heavier. Because of its 800 kg (1,763 pounds), it is not suitable for private individuals.

Its size is also an impediment, and a country like Japan is not known for having houses big enough to accommodate objects this big.

The automaker has consigned the rental service to a joint-venture it started with Mitsubishi, which is called Good Life Design. From there, medical institutions will be able to rent the unit to help their patients regain control of their lower limbs.

As usual with any medical treatment, recovery takes a different period for every patient, but any improvement in a person’s condition is worth the effort.

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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