Apr 14, 2017 06:00 PM EDT
Toyota Motor Corporation, which is known for cars, is joining the medical robotics field with the introduction of Welwalk WW-1000. The equipment is a motorized leg brace that can aid paralyzed people to walk. While not yet available for mass production, Toyota plans to rent out the device to hospitals in Japan.
The Welwalk WW-1000 can be fitted to those who suffers paralysis due to stroke or similar conditions. They can use the device on a special treadmill and start the rehabilitation. Welwalk WW-1000 has sensors that detect movement and adjust in real time to synchronize with the walking attempt. Instead of manually helping patients to walk, the therapist can monitor the patient's movements in a touch screen panel instead.
According to Dr. Eiichi Saito, the Welwalk WW-1000 needs to be strapped to the thigh, knee, ankle, and foot. To keep the patient's balance, he is to be harnessed from the ceiling. At the moment he attempts to walk, the Welwalk WW-1000 is going to mimic the bending and straightening movements, the Toyota Global Newsroom explained.
The Welwalk WW-1000 is making the rehabilitation process easier compared to traditional care wherein there is a need for several attendants. Further, the therapists believe that patients will have a feeling of independence. On the absence of the Welwalk WW-1000, several medical staff attending to patients is only developing the notion of dependency.
Saito also stressed that another advantage of the Welwalk WW-1000 is the tailored care. The data that is coming from the device is being translated into a proper level of support that the patient needs, ABC News said. Comparably, the traditional therapy is relying on the therapist's intuition and is prone to be inaccurate.
Meanwhile, the Welwalk WW-1000 is going to cost an initial $9,000 for the hospitals. Subsequently, they have to pay $3,200 on monthly fees. It is unclear how much will the Welwalk WW-1000 is going to cost the patients though.
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