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[翻译]AS IT IS - Toyota Plans to Offer a Robotic Leg to Help the Disabled

来源:慢速英语   时间:2017-04-16 09:29:39

Japanese carmaker Toyota has designed a robotic leg to help disabled people walk.


The company demonstrated the new device to reporters at its headquarters in Tokyo this week.


The robotic leg is called the Welwalk WW-1000 system. It has a mechanical frame that fits onto a person’s leg below the knee. Patients can practice walking on a special treadmill.

该机器人下肢被称为Welwalk WW-1000系统。它有一套适合安装在人腿膝盖以下部位的机械框架。患者可以在特殊的跑步机上练习行走。

Eiichi Saito is a doctor and an executive vice president at Fujita Health University. His university helped Toyota develop the robotic leg.

Eiichi Saito是藤田卫生保健大学的一名博士和执行副总裁。

Saito said it is designed to be worn on one leg for patients who are paralyzed on one side of their body because of a stroke or other disease.


The device is attached with a strap to the thigh, knee, ankle and foot of the person using it. A motor helps to bend and straighten the knee. Sensors provide information about what is happening and medical staff can control the system through a touch panel screen.


“This helps just barely enough,” said the researcher, who said helping a patient too much can slow recovery.


Japanese carmakers are also making robots


Japanese carmakers have been developing robotics for manufacturing and other uses for many years.


Honda Motor Co., for example, has developed the Asimo humanoid robot that can run, dance and speak.


Toyota’s WelWalk system uses robotic technology to assist people in moving and walking. Toyota took about 10 years to develop the robot walker.


Toshiyuki Isobe is with Toyota’s Frontier Research Center. He told Reuters news service that it has taken the company time to develop robotics products.

Toshiyuki Isobe就职于丰田前沿研究中心。他对路透社表示,该公司开发机器人产品已经花费了很长时间。

“The biggest challenges have been in determining the needs of the robot market, which is relatively new, and to ensure that our products are safe,” he said.


Robots that assist in health care are seen as an important and growing market.


Growing market for robots in healthcare


Eiichi Saito says Toyota’s device is aimed at helping common paralysis caused by health problems like strokes that can happen to aging people. Japan’s population is aging faster than other countries. In 2015, more than 26 percent of Japanese were aged 65 or older.

Eiichi Saito表示,丰田的设备旨在帮助中风等健康问题导致的常见瘫痪,老年人就可能中风。日本人口老龄化速度超过了其它国家。2015年,26%以上的日本人的年龄都不小于65岁。

Robotic devices may also be better for patients in some cases. Saito said patients using the device can recover more quickly because the robotic sensors in the WelWalk are more sensitive to movement than a human health worker.


Some experts expect demand for robots used to assist in care of the old and disabled will increase sharply. That is because there will be fewer people in the work force to care for the growing number of older patients.


The International Robotic Federation says more than 37,000 robots used in healthcare for the aged and disabled will be sold between 2016 and 2019. It says the field is expected to increase a lot in the next 20 years.


Toyota plans to rent 100 of the robotic systems to medical centers in Japan later this year. Costs include a $9000 one-time charge and a monthly rental cost of $3,200.


However, competition in walking assistance devices is growing. The medical technology company Hocoma of Switzerland and ReWalk Robotics of the United States also have developed robotic walkers.

然而,步行辅助装置的竞争日益激烈。瑞士Hocoma医疗科技公司和美国ReWalk Robotics公司都开发了机器人助行器。

I’m Mario Ritter.

Words in This story

treadmill –n. a machine used for exercise or rehabilitation that has a large belt that moves allowing a person to walk or run on it without moving

paralyzed –adj. unable to move, unable to walk

touch panel screen –n. a kind of computer screen that operated by touching the screen

humanoid –adj. like a human being

challenge –n. a difficult task, something that is hard to do