Six years back we covered the amazing 3.4 meter bi-pedal exoskeleton from Japan known as the Landwalker. Imagine our surprise when we found that its producer, machinery and robotics manufacturer Sakakibara-Kikai, has developed a smaller exoskeleton called the Kid's Walker. It didn't get that name because of its diminutive size either – the Kid's Walker is a functioning bi-pedal exoskeleton designed to be piloted by children!
A representative with the company said that the smaller exoskeleton was developed in response to so many children requesting rides in the much larger Land Walker. Thinking that would be just a little too dangerous for children to pilot, the company set out to build the Kid's Walker.
Sakakibara-Kikai was careful to implement appropriate safety features, with the hand grip controls outfitted with a safety that limits the movement to an acceptable level. The Kid's Walker doesn't really walk either, but rather it shuffles along in a very stable sort of step/roll motion should be fine for children to handle. The video below will give you a better idea of how it moves.
Powered by gasoline, this particular robot suit is almost half the height as its predecessor, measuring in at 1.6 meters tall and weighs 180 kilos. While the production costs of Kid's Walker have been kept confidential, the manufacturer tells us they think the unit would cost about 1,800,000 yen (over US$21,000) if it were to sell in Japan.
For now both the Land Walker and the Kid's Walker are being kept out of battle action, and are being used for amusement purposes only as the company has some rental services available. I have my suspicions though that Sakakibara-Kikai is merely waiting for a youngster worthy of piloting this mini-mecha wonder.
If only I were 20 years younger...
A short video of the exoskeleton in action can be found at Sakakibara-Kikai.