Toyota has announced plans to launch a rental service for the Welwalk WW-1000 robot, designed to assist in the rehabilitation of patients with lower limb paralysis.
Toyota Motor Corporation has announced plans to launch a rehabilitation robot rental service in autumn 2017. The company will make the Welwalk WW-1000 robot available to clients in Japan through Good Life Design, a joint venture with Mitsubishi established in 2002 to support projects for medical, healthcare and nursing facilities and companies.
The Welwalk WW-1000 rehabilitation robot was developed to assist with the rehabilitation of patients with lower limb paralysis caused by stroke and other types of brain injury or trauma. The robot is simple to use and developed for application in clinical settings. It consists of the main body, which includes a treadmill and a monitor, and a robotic leg which is fitted onto patients to train knee bending and stretching movements.
The Welwalk WW-1000 comes with a number of rehabilitation support functions, including adjustable levels of difficulty, real-time visual and auditory feedback on gait characteristics, and the ability to record objective data. The functions are based on motor learning theory and support rehabilitation through active extension, flexion and rotation movement.
Toyota started developing rehabilitation robots in 2007 to address the problem of Japan's growing aging population. The company's Partner Robot technologies – robotic companions developed to provide support to people and co-exist with them – include robots developed to assist in the areas of senior life support, welfare support, medical support and personal life support. Toyota's Walk Training Assist robots have been used in clinical research in 23 facilities across Japan in the last three years and the feedback received from patients and therapists indicates that the technology has the potential to help with lower limb recovery. As a result, the robot has been approved and certified as a medical device and the company hopes to rent 100 units starting in autumn 2017.