Mobility technology has historically been limited to wheelchairs. But the aging global population is leading companies like Honda and Panasonic to envision new technology combining robotics and even mind control to give mobility-limited individuals freedom. Here's what to expect.

Click through the photos to get a tour of technology in various stages of development aimed at improving the lives of people with disabilities. You'll notice most of the technology comes from Japan, which is becoming one of the oldest countries in the world yet has a shortage of care workers.

Product: Toyota Mind Control Wheelchair Prototype
How It Improves Mobility: Developed by researchers at Riken and Toyota, the machine uses a Brain Machine Interface (BMI) system to read brain waves in order to control smooth left and right turns, as well as forward and reverse turning. A mind control wheelchair makes a lot of sense.
Stage of Development Prototype.

Photo Credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

Product: Panasonic Home Bed/Wheelchair Combo
How It Improves Mobility: This improves mobility and independence by offering a bed that transforms into a wheelchair, removing the need to have assistance going from chair-to-bed and risking an injury.
Stage of Development Close to production.

Photo Credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

Product: Echicgo Wasuke
How It Improves Mobility: By allowing up to one-third of the wheel to detach this chair provides better ingress and egress. This is made possible by stronger and lighter weight plastics and metals.
Stage of Development On sale this year.

Photo Credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

Product: Honda Freed Van
How It Improves Mobility: Typically, wheelchair-accessible vans are conversions of larger truck-based vehicles. The conversions increase the size, weight and cost of the base vehicle and are not a great choice for urban areas. The Freed is a smaller vehicle with a lower floor that incorporates the wheelchair mode into its design up-front. This reduces the complexity, price and size of a wheelchair van.
Stage of Development A version is already on sale, the new version on sale soon in Japan.

Product: Quickie Match Point Wheelchair
How It Improves Mobility: Athletic wheelchairs have continued to advance beyond the lighter-weight racing chairs developed years ago. This tennis version is designed to allow the user to switch directions by switching weight without risking a tip-over and was used in the U.S. Open this year. Using materials and technology developed for automobiles and other consumer products Quickie has dramatically improved the maneuverability of players.
Stage of Development On sale now.

Product: Honda Walking Assist Devices
How It Improves Mobility: Not everyone needs a wheelchair, but walkers are not a great solution as they limit how fast and how easily someone can travel. We tested the Honda Walking Assist device and found, though a bit awkward, adds significantly to the ease of getting around.
Stage of Development Advanced prototype.

Product: Nissan Elderly Simulation Suit
How It Improves Mobility: There are still many senior citizens who have the mental facilities to operate a motor vehicle but find some of the controls hard to operate. Nissan engineers have been using a suit designed to mimic the limitations of age so younger designers can create controls more usable for an elderly population.
Stage of Development In use, undergoing further development.

Product: Porsche Design Pegasus
How It Improves Mobility: Most wheelchair users don't consider themselves any less able than anyone else, but the world was not designed with their needs in mind. The Pegasus helps bring users up to the level of their surroundings with a Segway-style motivation if necessary.
Stage of Development Early prototype.

Product: Robot for Interactive Body Assistance (RIBA)
How It Improves Mobility: The giant scary bear makes up for the lack of care workers by lifting patients from their chairs and into the bed through voice commands. The teddy bear face is to make people feel better about the robot but it freaks us out a little.
Stage of Development Planned for market in the next five years.

Product: Honda FRANZ
How It Improves Mobility: This system allows those with limited capabilities to use their feet or hands to control activities like shifting, steering and acceleration.
Stage of Development In the market, undergoing improved development.