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Honda Bodyweight Support Assist Device Selected for Innovation Exhibit at Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum


Experimental walk-assist device designed to enhance human mobility

TORRANCE, Calif. - Honda’s experimental Bodyweight Support Assist walking assist device will be showcased in the National Design Triennial “Why Design Now?” exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution in New York, NY, from May 14, 2010, through January 9, 2011. The exhibition of design innovation will showcase the work of designers from around the world that demonstrate the value of design in helping solve some of society’s most urgent human and environmental problems including sustainability, accessibility, universality, fair trade, conservation, health, education, creative capitalism, and underserved audiences. The designers are being recognized for enhancing human experience by inventing solutions that are as beautiful as they are just.

Honda developed the Bodyweight Support Assist device to help support bodyweight to reduce the load on the user’s legs while walking, going up and down stairs and in a semi-crouching position. The device reduces the load on leg muscles and joints utilizing an easy-to-use structure consisting of a seat, frame and shoes. Unique Honda technologies include mechanisms that direct the assisting force toward the user’s center of gravity and control the assist force in concert with the movement of the legs - making it possible for the device to provide natural assistance in various postures and motions. Learn more in this 3 minute video:

Demonstrating that “innovation has no limits” Honda began research into a walking device in 1999 at the Fundamental Research Center of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., which is also the home of Honda’s ASIMO advanced humanoid robot. The cumulative study of human walking, along with the research and development of technologies conducted for ASIMO, led to advances in cooperative control technology that made this device possible.

A second Honda device, Stride Management Assist (not in the Cooper-Hewitt exhibit), is designed for the elderly or people with weakened leg muscles, but who can still walk on their own. Honda has applied for more than 130 patents for its various walk assist devices, including Bodyweight Support Assist and Stride Management Assist, and is engaged testing to evaluate their full potential for real-world customer use.

About the Fundamental Technology Research Center of Honda R&D Co.
The Honda Research Institute’s Fundamental Technology Research Center was formally established in 1986. Its basic technical research is founded on a longstanding vision for the future and creating more efficient, more intelligent and more environmentally-responsible technologies. The Center’s research efforts follow a theme of coordinating these goals with the need for mobility. Key developments have include research into humanoid robotics, walk assist devices, U3-X personal mobility device, cellulosic bio-ethanol and nano technology among many other areas.

About Honda
Honda (NYSE: HMC) marked 50 years of operations in America in 2009. As a company devoted to the advancement of human mobility, Honda’s innovative research and development efforts during the past decade have yielded such diverse outcomes as humanoid robotics, walking assist devices, HondaJet, fuel cell electric vehicle technology, thin film solar cells, increased rice crop yields and functional nano-materials - in addition to the design and development of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products. Based on its belief in the value of technology to address the needs of society, it is Honda’s mission to develop products that anticipate and satisfy the evolving needs of its customers while meeting society’s demand for cleaner, safer, more efficient and sustainable means of transportation and human mobility.

Honda Multimedia Newsroom (for journalists):
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Honda Bodyweight Support Assist on YouTube:
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About Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design.

Founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt - granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper - as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967. The museum, located a 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City, presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active education programs, exhibitions and publications. For further information, call (212) 849-8400 or visit


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