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Toyota Wearable Robotic Leg Brace To Aid In Physical Therapy [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 14, 2017 10:00 AM EDT

The Toyota Motor Corp. has announced the release of a wearable robotic leg brace that can be used in rehabilitation institutions in Japan as an aid in physical therapy.

Over a hundred units of the wearable robotic leg brace, dubbed the Welwalk WW-1000, is set to be rented out to physical rehabilitation and medical institutions over a period of three years. Toyota hopes to service all of the 1,500 rehabilitation institutions in Japan despite having to price the rental at around $9,000 (1 million yen) for the initial fee followed by a monthly rental charge of roughly $3,200 (350,000 yen), the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The Fujita Health University partnered with the auto giant to develop the wearable robotic leg brace. The brace is designed to be worn on one leg at a time, strapped to the thigh, knee, ankle, and foot. A harness supports the upper body while the patient walks on a treadmill. The walking motion is supported by a motor that helps bend and straighten the knee. The therapist then will be able to monitor progress of the system through a touch screen panel while the sensors fine-tune the support on the leg of the patient, the Associated Press reported.

Toyota Motors Corp. hopes to be able to dominate the health robotics industry after the success of their robots in the manufacturing sector. They have begun research and development in robots for medical and nursing care. Toyota also is looking into making robotics a core operation of the company.

The growing market on robotics-assisted rehabilitation has prompted the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry to craft the new Japanese Industrial Standards for support robot safety to establish industry safety standards. This market has not only attracted major Japanese corporations like Honda, Sony, and Panasonic to invest, but also upstarts like Cyberdyne that was created by a professor from the University of Tsukuba.

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