Aimed at keeping the elderly active, the AWAD system consists of two robo-boots and a waist-mounted battery pack. The boots assist their wearer by sensing the moment their heel hits the ground and then giving a small robotic boost of strength. This assures that the wearer not only maintains balance, but keeps on moving forward at a respectable pace. The system will also be adjustable, depending upon the amount of assistance a given wearer needs.
That probably doesn't mean that you can use an AWAD to give yourself cheetah speed or super stomping power or anything. But there will be a whole lot of older folks who can get to the grocery store and back a lot quicker, so that's pretty cool. Yaskawa is planning to get the AWAD system onto the market by 2015 — not bad for the company's first foray into exoskeletons.