Recently, we’ve seen the development of more and more robotic mobility aids to help people with disabilities get around. Toyota, working alongside Fujita Health University, has now joined in with their Welwalk WW-1000 system. Unlike other robotic mobility aids, the Welwalk isn’t designed for day to day use, but instead for use in hospitals helping to rehabilitate patients who are partially paralyzed due to strokes or other ailments.

The first 100 units of the Welwalk will be rented to Japanese medical facilities this year. Japan has a rapidly aging population, so health innovations like the Welwalk will be a major help.

The Welwalk is designed specifically for patients suffering paralysis on one side of their body, a common stroke symptom, and is made to be worn one leg at a time. It features a “motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person’s leg from the knee down.” The patient then walks on a treadmill designed to hold the weight of the patient and the mechanical frame. The patient is simultaneously supported by harness from above to prevent any falls.

The Welwalk doesn’t do all the walking for its users, instead simply providing extra support that’s more fine tuned than what a human therapists can offer. As Eiichi Saito, executive vice president at Fujita Health University, puts it, “This [the Welwalk] helps just barely enough.”

Toyota’s chief research officer, Toshiyuki Isobe, says the company wants to continue to apply their robotics technology to healthcare purposes. “Our vision is about trying to deliver mobility for everybody.”