"Until now, there hasn't been a load-reducing walking aid - a device that lets users walk while reducing the load from their body weight. During the last 2-3 years, suspension walking lifts have become commonly used for rehabilitation in Japan.
A machine that suspends from overhead to reduce the load from body weight needs to be large. So we're developing POPO as a new kind of walking aid - one that's as compact as possible."
To reduce the load, all the user needs to do is put on a harness and attach the belt to the walking aid. Powered by rechargeable batteries, POPO can withstand a load of up to 100kg.
"In Japan, when people start having difficulty walking, they end up using wheelchairs at a comparatively early stage. That's true in hospitals as well. People use all kinds of walking aids, but if there's concern that they'll have an accident and make their condition worse, they immediately switch to a wheelchair. When that happens, there's a strong tendency for whatever core functionality people have to deteriorate. We've developed this machine to help people keep walking for longer, with more stamina."
Moritoh hopes that this load-reducing walking aid will make life easier for caregivers as well as patients. The company plans to develop a home version of POPO as well as the hospital version.
VIDEO Walking Aid Can Reduce Load from Body Weight