Developed by Japanese engineers at Honda, these are prototypes of wearable gadgets that are designed to enhance a human's walking ability.
The first, which looks a bit like an industrial-strength garter belt, is called "Stride Management Assist" (there will doubtless be a renaming process before the devices come to the U.S. market). It secures around the user's waist and grips each thigh. Then, by monitoring the angle of the hips, it calculates the wearer's stride and provides helpful force -- not exactly moving your legs for you, but what the makers call "cooperative control," lengthening the stride and regulating the pace of walking...As a polio survivor with a touch of post-polio syndrome, I find this technology to be intriguing.
Honda's reps were unable to offer specific information as to when the devices might come to market, or what exactly the market might be. The versatile technology promises to be very helpful, even life-changing, for people who need mobility assistance, assuming that the triple barriers of price, availability, and fear of strapping robots to your legs can be overcome.