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Robotics Hardware

Honda's Exoskeletons Help You Walk Like Asimo 135

Posted by timothy
from the walk-me-to-the-store dept.
kkleiner writes "Honda has created two walking exoskeletons based on Asimo research that assist humans in walking. The Bodyweight Support Assist exoskeleton is a set of thin legs attached to a seat. Users sit on the seat and slip their feet into shoes on the robotic legs. This system supports bodyweight to assist people in walking and moving up and down steps. The other, Stride Management Assist, is a brace worn around the hips and thighs that provides added strength when flexing that joint. It's currently under development and being tested by 130 patients in the field. Both devices may prove to be valuable tools in helping the elderly maintain their mobility, assisting the disabled, and easing the stress on physical laborers."
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Honda's Exoskeletons Help You Walk Like Asimo

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  • Eek! (Score:5, Funny)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:16AM (#33608758)

    Any dude who has ever had a bike seat interact harshly with their crotch area will likely cringe when they think a little bit about this one. It's a powered crutch... that uses your crotch instead of your armpits.

    Ryan Fenton

    • by dintech (998802)

      Honda's Exoskeletons Help You Walk Like Asim

      Is this some sort of racial slur?

      • by lxs (131946)

        It's a typo. It should read "walk like a Sim"

      • by Omicron32 (646469)
        Haha, I actually read the title as "Honda's Exoskeletons Help You Walk Like Asian" and thought it was wildly inappropriate.
        • by Abstrackt (609015)

          Haha, I actually read the title as "Honda's Exoskeletons Help You Walk Like Asian" and thought it was wildly inappropriate.

          If anime has taught me anything most Asians use mechs for transport so I think it's a very accurate title!

      • Nope, it's an advertisement for the undead - 'Skeletons help you walk like Asimov'.

    • Well its a fairly large, comfy seat. I have an expensive titanium railed leather seat on my commuting bike (160 AUD: I was single when I bought it). Once I slipped off a pedal and came down right on the sharp bit at the front. Christ that hurt.

      At least you can't slip off this. I wonder if they have actually tried it out with somebody who can barely walk? I would hate them to fall and break half their bones.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "It's a powered crutch... that uses your crotch instead of your armpits."

      I, for one, find the idea vaguely arousing.

  • by muzip (1220080)
    Fantastic innovation, but doesn't look aesthetically pleasing. Looks like you have a two legged spider between your legs ...
    • Re:Ugly (Score:4, Funny)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:43AM (#33608884) Homepage Journal

      Its like they've got the Wrong Trousers.

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      Looks like you have a two legged spider between your legs ...

      If not exciting, it is at least intriguing !

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tsj5j (1159013)
      You won't care for the looks when you're 70 and unable to walk with assistance.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Not even if you're 20 and unable to walk without assistance. MS sufferers will be some of the ones to benefit from this; there are two young women I know of with this condition who can barely walk even with crutches. There are a lot more conditions than being elderly that will make you need this. I would imagine a lot of men and women coming back rom Iraq and Afghanistan will need it, too.

        As to the "70" thing, my dad will be 80 next year, and he still goes square dancing every Saturday night. This isn't for

      • When I'm 70 this will be an internal augmentation. Go Future!
  • Reaction time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:22AM (#33608784)

    When they mention physical laborers, I start wondering if these type of exoskeletons will restrict us in some areas too. Would I for example be able to run as fast with one as without one? What about jumping or dodging to avoid a fast moving object?

    • by index0 (1868500)
      They mean physical jobs where this can prevent injury.
      • Yeah, I figured carrying heavy objects around. But where there are heavy objects there might be falling heavy objects too.

        • The solution to heavy falling objects is not "make sure all your workers can run", it's "make sure that no heavy objects are above people in the first place". Besides, if the workers are much more at risk of repetitive strain from lifting heavy things around all day, something like this is overall beneficial by reducing the main risk even if it increases other types of risk slightly.

          • Now, make sure no heavy objects are generally above people at all ever in a job that involves loading trucks with an overhead crane, or pulling materials off of a pallet rack with a forklift (these racks usually go 3-5 levels high at several feet of height per level), etc, etc, etc.

            In a lot of cases, "Make sure your employees are aware of their environment and know how to GTFO if something starts going wrong" is the best that can be done.

            • In a lot of cases, "Make sure your employees are aware of their environment and know how to GTFO if something starts going wrong" is the best that can be done.

              I have worked in these environments (Pallet racks, forklifts) , and I agree that this is the best policy by far. (Except you missed the "if you like having toes, wear your safety boots, if you like having a head, wear your hard hat).

              PHBs unfortunately don't agree with us. they think its more important you _sign_ that "you have watched a video, and

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by somersault (912633)

                If something truly heavy drops on you then steel toes and a hard hat aren't going to do much.. suppose it may be better to have your toes crimped off than to have them trapped/crushed under a container though.

                I've worked with forklifts too and massive cranes moving 20 ton containers around our yard, I prefer just to not stand under the heavy things than hope a hardhat is somehow going to save me if they fall.

                • by vegiVamp (518171)
                  Warning: heating element may be hot.

                  Of course there's always something that the protective measure won't protect you from. The point of them is to protect you within the specified limits. Nobody ever claimed that a hard hat is going to miraculously save you from a 20-ton container to the noggin.
                • by WCguru42 (1268530)

                  If something truly heavy drops on you then steel toes and a hard hat aren't going to do much.. suppose it may be better to have your toes crimped off than to have them trapped/crushed under a container though.

                  Never worked around shipping containers but I did work in a hardware/ lumber yard with forklifts and heavy (enough) objects. Most people showed up day one with steel toed boots. First word of advice they got was to buy some regular, non-steel toed boots. No point in losing the whole toe when you could just have a few broken toes. We even had someone run over a steel toed boot with hot dogs in it once, sliced them pretty clean, considering the tool.

                • There's a pretty broad "in between" area though, which is where a pretty large number of people work. Where something might be heavy enough to injure but not so heavy as to break neck/crimp off toes.

                  I work at a pipe fabrication shop (as the IT guy / part time draftsman / CIC bender programmer / etc). Owner doesn't require hardhats because there's more or less nothing high enough that it could reasonably fall on your head that isn't going to kill you outright but does require steel toes as the opposite is

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      quote from one of the videos: "no jumping". obviously, the things are based on moving within some strict parameters.
      however, I think they can be constructed so that it's easy to get out of them (if you need them). until they have the direct to brain interface available...

    • I think with about 6 million dollars all of this should be faster, better, stronger, etc. You should at least be able to run 60mh, have the strength of an elephant, and best of all x-ray vision.

  • WTH? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by miknix (1047580) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:24AM (#33608796) Homepage

    http://singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/honda-exoskeleton-walker.jpg [singularityhub.com]

    Did they really need to put a man there? I feel the pain in my nuts already.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm amazed at some of the comments posted so far.

    What happens when it gets a virus. Most likely a closed system that doesn't allow you that type of access. I highly doubt the system runs on windows. More likely a low power computer based system with little access to the programming. Doubt they would want you tinkering with that for safety reasons.

    Crotch issues... the device maintains constant support when using the device. You are not bouncing up and down on it. So no, there are no crotch issues any mor

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by ZeroExistenZ (721849)

      Restrictions while using device... Duh...

      Say this thing is widely integrated and alot of people use it, because (as shown in the clip) going up stairs is such an incomfortable task that might make you sweat and give up going upstairs. While you sit down, feeling like a failure because you were defeated by a stairway.

      I do realize, this is thought for less mobile people or perhaps revalidation, but with a "cool"-factor like the segway, just imagine people not using their bodies anymore, no muscle-development

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by shadowfaxcrx (1736978)

        That's just not going to happen. You can get a Segway for a few grand. My dad was in power wheelchairs for the last 12 years of his life. His last two cost $25,000. Each. These exoskeletons will be a lot more. No one is going to buy them just because "They're cool." Insurance companies are going to buy them for people who actually need them.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 17, 2010 @05:45AM (#33608892) Homepage

    The one with the legs a bit too bent and like you have no calf muscles?

  • Honda? Meh. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Honda is quite far behind in this technology.

    http://www.cyberdyne.jp/english/robotsuithal/

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Syberz (1170343)

      Perhaps Honda is late to the party with this one, but you'll note that the link you've provided points to a suit called HAL, made by Cyberdyne.

      You think that the ball-cupping of the Honda suit is bad?

      - Alrighty, let's pick up this heavy box.
      - I'm sorry John, I can't let you do that.
      - Wait, what? Why? Hold on, my name isn't John.
      - Target acquired.
      *Bend* *Bend* *Fold* CRRRRUNCH! Aaaiiirrrghh!!
      -Terminated.

  • Excellent (Score:4, Funny)

    by MRe_nl (306212) on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:10AM (#33608986)

    I've always wanted to walk through a sim city as a sim.

  • become crazy mechas in Japan

  • by Genda (560240) <mariet@nOSpAM.got.net> on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:37AM (#33609078) Journal

    But can you toss an alien queen out an airlock with it??? Inquiring minds want to know!

  • Lazy Fat People..... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by emh203 (815620)
    Not to sound to cruel, but I see this being overused more by people who are simply lazy. Every time to goto a store, I see overweight folks using the electric karts to scoot them selves around so they can fill their baskets with oreos and ice cream... That and old people..... I always tell people I am "pro death panel". We simple can't afford to keep pumping cash into machines such as this to keep 90 year people moving around.
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:53AM (#33609142) Homepage Journal

      Well it is a Japanese product and I doubt they have the same issues. What they do have is a huge number of really old people. If it gets used by obese people in western countries then we can take comfort from the short battery life. Maybe it should come with a complaining voice. Load limit exceeded...

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        What they do have is a huge number of really old people...

        Er, not as many as they thought they had... [guardian.co.uk]

        • The most interesting thing from that article I think is the last line: "The government said the findings would have a minimal impact on longevity figures, which are based on census data collated during home visits. In addition, men over 98 and women over 103 are not factored into life expectancy calculations."

          Would it really skew the averages that much to include everybody?

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Not to sound to cruel, but I see this being overused more by people who are simply lazy. Every time to goto a store, I see overweight folks using the electric karts to scoot them selves around so they can fill their baskets with oreos and ice cream

      Those fat people really need those scooters. Carrying around 300-400 pounds every day for a decade will ruin the leg's various joints. It isn't laziness, it's freedom from pain. But I guess you're all for making people suffer.

      That and old people..... I always tell

  • by splutty (43475) on Friday September 17, 2010 @07:02AM (#33609182)

    This reminds me a lot of an advertisement in the Solo of Fortune magazine released for the Cyberpunk pen & paper RPG.

    "Russian cyberleg not pretty, but no matter when kick hole in tank, yes?"

    http://www.pen-paper.net/rpgdb.php?op=showbook&bookid=1106 [pen-paper.net] This one. Very funny read.

  • It seems like with this machine, you are just one software bug away from castration.

  • Well.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday September 17, 2010 @07:27AM (#33609276) Homepage

    ...that's all fine and well, but can it make you walk like Awesom-o? [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    By myself, without any add-on.

    What I cannot do is walk like Michael Jackson.

    When he was alive, I mean.

  • I can see applications for these kind of devices in physio/therapeutic settings, where for example kids with cerebral palsy, spasticity, and incoherent/underdeveloped motor skills in general can learn how to move properly. The device can provide a restrictive function (prevent limbs or torso flailing around uncontrolled...passive devices like braces are already used for that) and simultaneously provide an external "correct" way of moving about. Basically teach the body/brain the proper way of moving (such a

  • The title has the name of the song all wrong...
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      And Honda spelled Dr. Asimov's name wrong!

      • And Honda spelled Dr. Asimov's name wrong!

        Advanced Step in Innovative MObility

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Yes, I know what the backronym stands for. If it were a true acronym it would be ASIM rather than ASIMO. But when the fifth generation comes out I guess it will be AsimoV.

  • ...like that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASoCJTYgYB0 [youtube.com]

    No thanks ;)

  • Now for some cheeeese...
  • Mechanical seven league boots, eh ? Hopefully users realise that unless some basic precautions are taken, using the boots results in having one's feet twenty-one miles apart causing unacceptable groin strain.
  • I can see the use in many areas, but i know most of us are expecting a video of them kicking trough walls or jumping over buildings. Right now they just seem like a giant diaper with legs.
  • by Anti Cheat (1749344) on Friday September 17, 2010 @08:39AM (#33609742)

    As a person with some mobility issues due to nerve damage, I can certainly see myself using such a device as this. After watching the selected movies of it in action, I could visualize how the forces that this machine exerts, would assist cases like mine. I have difficulty controlling my legs. I know this machine doesn't actually make the decisions about muscle control, but it still would help a segment of people with some nerve damage that affects the force and feedback required for steady motion. If some of the forces required to walk were reduced with an aid, then control would be improved. You see, as you exert more force you become more unstable because the nerves to fire the muscles aren't firing strong enough, no do they react or give feedback the same way, as those loads increase. Lighter loads are easier. Remove some of that muscular force required to stand and walk and you would become more stable. It's not just about simply removing dead weight from the legs. With this I would focus less about how hard I need to exert those forces and far more on the control for balance and movement if half the strength needed was removed. It would make a big improvement to stability control. That makes a huge difference for people with some level of nerve damage in getting around safely without stumbling etc. I don't think most people see it this way when they look at this device in action. It's not all about strength.

  • I'm a coder, and I like coding, but sometimes I wonder about making robots.

    Imagine if you made it so if you pull the arm to one side. Then instead of stopping, the device kept moving you arm around your body, and ripped off a limb. You can't dismember yourself doing code. Exoskeleton development could be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Imagine if you made it so if you pull the arm to one side. Then instead of stopping, the device kept moving you arm around your body, and ripped off a limb. "

      That's why you design in adjustable POSITIVE MECHANICAL STOPS.

      Analogy: Cars are complex, guardrails less so, for appropriate reasons.

  • So how much will have to be modified from the base design to allow them to assist in acrobatics, jumping, or even in assisting in landing after falling/jumping from an uncomfortable height?
  • this came out about a year ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp4XUvgqkbU [youtube.com], and the hip robot a year before.

  • Well, at least these might be less in the way when all the fat, lazy people at Wal-Mart have to use them to get around to buy their cheese doodles and soda pop.
  • The military. I for one don't welcome our new robot overlords.
    • by slick7 (1703596)

      The military. I for one don't welcome our new robot overlords.

      These contraptions are nothing more than proof of concept. The military as well as police and rescue will be the largest sector to purchase man amplification rigs. Read the book Starship Troopers by Heinlein. This is where it's headed.
      Firefighters and rescue workers can bring the equipment with them, jaws of life, fire retardant, medical supplies, stretcher and be able to move in relative safety.
      The videos showed two different versions of walking machines, yet how many people realize that they are separate

  • by Ecuador (740021) on Friday September 17, 2010 @10:18AM (#33610680) Homepage

    Is this a joke?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTlV0Y5yAww [youtube.com]

    What's next?
    Swim like an Anvil(tm)?
    Fly like a Potato Sack(tm)?

  • I immediately thought of what it would look like with a pair of thin bicycle tires between the ankles, and additional tires (and supporting enhanced robotic arms) strapped to my forearms. Make the exo suit into a full body resting couch, then skitter across concrete like a water bug in a pond.

  • ...they've improved it, because I wouldn't want to fall like Asimo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASoCJTYgYB0 [youtube.com]

  • can I buy one of these and tell people to bite my shiny metal ass?
  • Sure, you can walk with this exoskeleton... but can you boogie???

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