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HomeUncategorizedIs the era of the 'robotic pilgrimage' coming? They create an...

Is the era of the 'robotic pilgrimage' coming? They create an exoskeleton for long tourist walks


The equipment has been created by the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the companies Walk-Mate Lab and All Nippon Airways.

Created by the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and the Japanese companies Walk-Mate Lab and All Nippon Airways, the Walk-Mate robotic suit, designed to help people who have suffered motor paralysis, muscle atrophy or other disabling disease, will be a fundamental element in the new concept of “pilgrimage x robot”. This “new style” of travel will aim to encourage the revitalization of rural areas through tourism, its creators recently announced.

Walk-Mate is an external skeleton, powered by batteries, which is placed on the user’s clothing and comes equipped with sensors on the waist and ankles. The equipment uses motors to synchronize and optimize the user’s steps and the rhythmic swing of their arms

. The robotic exoskeleton optimizes the wearer’s gait, and according to its creators, walking speed and stride length increase while wearing the suit. Walk-Mate uses the rhythm of walking to stabilize the user’s steps and lead them into a stable and comfortable routine, a novel concept for this type of robotic equipment.

The suit will be made available to tourism and has already been tested on an ancient pilgrimage route of 1.200 km, which includes 88 temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku. It is one of the few sacred circular walks in the world, and it goes through places where the monk Kobo Daishi, also known as ‘Kukai’, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, trained or meditated in the ninth century. The starting point is located at the Ryozenji temple in Tokushima prefecture, and the trip takes a month and a half to complete for someone who can walk 30 km per day, which is why it is considered one of the most demanding walks in Japan. The drive would take about days, according to South China Morning Post.

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Recently, Walk-Mate was put to the test on Mount Koya, a sacred peak in Wakayama Prefecture. Six participants walked 500 meters using the exoskeleton robot on the way to two sacred sites. The suit was confirmed to improve the walking ability and stride length of the test participants. In addition, it was found that walking with the equipment could have a positive effect, not only on the body, but also on the “mind”. Volunteers reported that they felt a “sensation of togetherness” when wearing the equipment, both with other walkers and with the robotic suit



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