When we think of a robot, we usually think of an autonomous machine that can take the place of humans in different tasks. However, certain robots can also improve human skills. This is especially true for people with disabilities. This is where Jaco comes in – a robotic arm from the Canadian tech company Kinova Robotics. The robotic arm can easily be attached to any electric wheelchair and act as a kind of third arm. This can help people with reduced mobility to live more independently.
For many wheelchair users, independence is still just a dream – Jaco is supposed to help make it come true
Wheelchair users can control the robotic arm with the same controls that they already use to steer their wheelchairs. Kinova has integrated Jaco into existing controls to make it as intuitive and easy to use as possible. The robotic arm is designed to help with all sorts of everyday activities. Jaco can, among other things, open doors, pick up various objects (up to 2 kg in weight), apply your make-up or enable you to interact more easily with people and pets.
Jaco acts like a third arm and is very intuitive
The robotic arm is said to resemble a natural human arm
Kinova designed Jaco to mimic a fully functional human arm. It has a shoulder, elbow, and wrist with three fingers, making it a total of 16 smooth movements from every angle. The robot arm is equipped with a carbon fiber exoskeleton and is therefore functional, versatile, weatherproof and durable. For this reason, it is already widely used in research. It also makes Jaco look very futuristic.
The robotic arm has been used more frequently in research to this day
Unfortunately, although Kinova built the Jaco robotic arm to enable wheelchair users to interact and navigate the world more easily, the device itself is still largely inaccessible. In Germany, the price of USD 35,000 is covered by health insurance. In the USA and many other places, however, this is not yet the case. A cheaper version of Jaco is currently in the works, but cutting costs also means sacrificing speed and fine motor skills.
Unfortunately, Jaco is still far too expensive for many wheelchair users