“What better place than Japan to discover innovative healthcare solutions and technology that can improve people’s lives all over the world.
‘Spotlight shines a light on Japan starting with Honda. The company has developed a brand-new device to assist people with impaired mobility. We visited Honda’s headquarters to see what it’s all about,” reports euronews’ Daleen Hassan.
Honda’s Walking Assist Device
Recent steps into a world beyond automobiles and airplanes may sound like a bit of a leap, but a personal mobility device has been created by Honda to help those in need.
Agile and lightweight at 2.7 kilograms, this Walking Assist Device has been developed for those who suffer from walking difficulties.
It can manage the stress load of a person’s legs and reduce fatigue. Euronews met Makoto Shibata from Honda’s development department who explained how it works.
“It is a very, very simple structure, we have two motors and a battery and computer in the backside, during walking this computer senses hip angle movement. This device can assist human leg movement.
‘The walking information goes to a tablet. It is like a racing car technique, between the car and the pit,” he said.
The device has been inspired by the development of the humanoid robot Asimo, where engineers conducted thorough research on the human bipedal system.
Since 2013 more than 50 hospitals in Japan have given patients and elderly people the opportunity to utilise it which has helped to optimise functions.
Walking assist device technology could change the way we look at the concept of mobility as a whole.
Mission Arm of Japan
“Health solutions are not just the prerogative of large corporations. Genta Kondo is a brilliant, young innovator who’s come up with an affordable 3D Printed robotic arm,” explains Daleen Hassan.
It is 7 o’clock on Wednesday morning and the weekly meeting of ‘Mission Arm of Japan’, a non-profit organisation where a group of engineers, designers, and physically disabled individuals are gathering to develop prosthetic products.
Gentta Kondo, 31-year-old co-founder of the Exii startup company, has combined robotic technology with 3D printing techniques.
With the simple concept of a sensor attached to the arm, muscle contractions are converted into finger and thumb movements.
“We are disclosing all the data for free on the internet so as long as you have the access to the internet you can basically download the data and just print it right way.
‘This kind of technology trend will improve people lives because they don’t have to stick with the professionals.Everybody can make a hand.
‘Making these things has become really easy and I want to tell the world that it is not that difficult. You can customise it to your taste and it’s also really fun to make one,” he said.
Providing practical solutions that can produce an immediate impact could change Takayoshi’s life. He was born with a birth defect in his left hand. Now, he is trying his new prosthetic, before finalising a design that suits him.
“Until now I was holding things with only my right hand, but this arm will allow me to hold things with my left as well. So I hope that I can do a lot of things with my two arms, I’m very hopeful about my life now,” he told euronews.
With $500 dollars, you could purchase a stylish 3D-printed arm at 10 times less than the cost of a typical prosthetic arm. A deal you can shake on.
Saving lives with paint
“Nearly half a million people die from Malaria every year. A Japanese company has developed a paint that repels mosquitos which are responsible for spreading the deadly disease. We visited Kansai Paint in Tokyo,” said Daleen Hassan.
Kansai, known as one of Japan’s largest paint manufacturers for automotive and industrial applications, has invented a paint that uses insecticides to repel mosquitos and other insects. The paint is destined for tropical climate countries.
“In a situation where there are a lot of children dying from Malaria in Africa, we thought of developing a paint which could repel or even kill mosquitoes.
‘This paint contains ingredients which excite mosquitoes nerves. When mosquitoes land on a wall, they become nervous and paralysed because of these ingredients and would never bite a human. That’s the mechanism,” Yu Akaki,
Executive Officer, Kansai Paint explained.
During tests the paint was found to have an 80% efficiency in repelling mosquitoes. This has led to improvements in health clinics across several developing countries, and the anti-mosquito paint has become vital, especially in nurseries and schools in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, where a lot of people suffer from dengue fever.