Honda Motor, Japanese automobile major, has got approval for its recently launched Walking Assist Device from the Indian Patent Office. The company has been developing the device since 1999.
After pilot studies from 2013, it launched the product under lease in Japan last year. The robotic device has been developed to help manage stress load on a walker's legs and reduce fatigue. it is mainly meant to assist aged persons or those with walking dysfunction.
The patent application in India was filed in February 2009; there were some initial objections. The device reduces the resistance force when a user swings the hip to walk. Since 2013, with the cooperation of around 50 hospitals and other facilities in Japan, a limited number of the devices have been used, enabling Honda to optimise the functions.
The company had announced sales of 450 units on a 36-month lease at Rs 45,000 a month (a yen is 60p), including the expense of an annual maintenance check and a training session. These are used by people with spinal cord injury, some kinds of paralysis, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, arthritis and lower-limb amputations, according to reports.
A study says the global walking assist device market is expected to reach $6.57 billion by 2020, at a compounded annual growth rate of 3.9% from 2015 to 2020.