While robots maybe a major cause of worry worldwide at present because of the widespread job losses they are resulting in both in the manufacturing industries as well as the software sector, there is one domain their contribution couldn’t be more welcome – healthcare. The latest noteworthy development in that direction is the development of a new robot named Welwalk WW-1000 by international automotive giant Toyota.
How does it work?
At its Tokyo headquarters, Toyota recently unveiled its latest product with a demo offered of the equipment to reporters. Meant to rehabilitate those rendered immobile by stroke or other ailments, Welwalk WW-1000 system is comprised of a motorized mechanical frame to fit a person’s leg from the knee down. It is equipped with sensors to monitor the walking and adjust quickly as per the needs of the patients. Medical staff would control the system via a touch panel screen. It is 60% faster than normal physiotherapy in bearing fruit.
Recovering patients can practice walking wearing the robotic device on a treadmill made specially to support their weight on a machine that can rehabilitate stroke victims. Toyota plans to rent about a hundred such systems to medical facilities in Japan by year-end. It would charge a one-time US$9,000 at the start and a US$3,200 monthly fee.
While Japanese automakers have been frontrunners in developing robotics both for manufacturing and other uses, Toyota’s latest product stands out for it has been made keeping in mind the rapidly aging population in Japan which is highly susceptible to heart diseases leading to stroke.