Just last year, Toyota announced four robots made to help paralyzed patients walk or balance themselves. The company plans to commercialize the robots sometime in 2013. Pictured above is one of the four robots, the Balance Training Assist. The robot acts as a two-wheeled balancing game. The machine displays one of three sports games on a monitor and requires the patient to make moves in the game by shifting his/her weight on the robot.
Other medical robots developed by Toyota include The Walk Training Assist robot and the Independent Walk Assist robot. The Walk Training Assist robot mounts on a paralyzed leg and detects movement of the hips through sensors at the thigh and foot. The robot helps the knee swing and the leg move forward to facilitate walking. The Independent Walk Assist robot is designed for walking training. In addition to helping the leg bend and move forward, the robot supports the patient's weight. The robot adjusts to support less weight as the patient's walking improves. The Assist robots can also monitor metrics, such as joint angles, allowing physicians to more easily track a patient's progress.