Toyota testing assistance robot for stroke patients

Toyota Motor Corp. and Fujita Health University are testing the robot, Kyodo news agency quoted company officials as saying.

Toyota, which hopes such robots will be one of its core businesses, is considering advocating the use of the robot for the daily lives of people suffering from paralysis if the tests show it is effective and engineers manage to further reduce its size and weight, the officials said.

Applying Toyota's robotic control technology, the robot helps people affected by one-sided paralysis, who tend to walk awkwardly with their legs straight from fear they might tumble if they flex their knees, by sensing leg movements and helping knees move with a motor.

Toyota said in December 2007 it will focus on assistance robots, and is aiming to offer such robots for practical use in the early 2010s for elderly care and other fields.

The robot for leg movement has been jointly developed with the university in Toyoake, Aichi Prefecture, since 2007 and was offered to stroke patients this July on a pilot basis, the officials said.

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