Asimo. The humanoid robot that walks, runs, stands on one leg and even walks up and down stairs (though not always).

The purpose of Honda’s creation, which was first unveiled to the public back in 2000, is to inspire youngsters to get involved in math and science, as well as to utilize its technology to assist people in real-world environments.

It appears its efforts are paying off, with the Japanese company this week announcing plans to test out the latest version of its Stride Management Assist device (SMAd), a lightweight, comfortable-looking piece of kit designed to help those with reduced walking ability.

Weighing just 2.4 kg (5.2 lb) and consisting of a small contraption that fits around the wearer’s waist with two braces that attach to their thighs, the SMAd certainly looks like a convenient solution for those in need of walking assistance.

The device operates using a motor powered by a Lithium-ion battery. At a constant speed of 2.8 mph (4.5 km/h), Honda says it should run for just over an hour, a length of time which seems barely enough for a trip to the supermarket. No doubt its engineers are looking at ways to boost the battery life, thereby avoiding the possibility of senior citizens seizing up mid-stride in the park or at the mall.

According to Ubergizmo, the SMAd works by analyzing the existing ability of the walker’s stride, boosting it to an appropriate level by giving extra power to the thighs, to which the braces are attached.

It can also monitor the user’s heartbeat in order to avoid sending the walker into an early grave should things get a little too energetic.

SMAd is being tested out in the field in August. If all goes well, Honda will likely look at ways to commercialize the device in the near future.