Thursday, June 25, 2015

TC Makers: Kinova Robotics Gives The Disabled A Helping Hand

Montreal-based Kinova Robotics was founded in part because of one man – the founder’s uncle, Jaco, a disabled inventor who created a manipulator for his wheelchair out of a hot dog pincher, some microswitches, and some complex electronics. This early attempt, while primitive, was the basis for a whole series of amazing – and amazingly useful – robotic arms.
Kinova’s CEO Charles Deguire took TC Makers around his small factory outside of the city where he and his team are building robotic arms as fast as they can. The arms fit onto standard wheelchairs and allow folks to feed themselves, manipulate objects, and live an independent life. Currently the team sells arms all around the world and currently over 150 users in the Netherlands are feeding themselves using Jaco.
The arms are lightweight and low cost and they are creating the entire modular system in their factory. They can build about five robots per day and are currently working on a new model to keep things lighter. Researchers are also using the system for research into machine learning and robotics.
Kinova is an amazing company doing something amazing: it gives a helping hand to people who are disabled in an amazing way.

Friday, June 12, 2015

This Incredible Wheelchair Can Climb Stairs Like a Tank

This Incredible Wheelchair Can Climb Stairs Like a Tank
Wheel Chair climbing upstairs

Technology has been making wheelchairs more convenient and easier to use, but this crazy amazing model that actually scales staircases is a metaphorical mic drop.
This prototype, called the Scalevo, has rubber, tank-like treads mounted to the bottom of the chair. The user approaches a set of steps backwards with his or her back facing the steps. The treads sprout out, lifting the chair up at an angle, allowing it to crawl up the steps. The user is kept level at all times. The headlight-and-taillight-equipped chair has two extra sets of wheels that pop out at the last step to provide smoother transition back to flat ground.
It began as a student project last summer, and now ten electrical engineering and industrial design students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Zurich University of the Arts are working on it. They say the Segway was an inspiration. I guess there’s a first time for everything.
The team wants it ready by next year’s Cybathlon, a race for people with physical disabilities that use assisting robotic tech, like exoskeletons and electrically stimulated muscles.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Hands-On With Doppler Labs’ Here Active Listening System

In short, these are two independent ear buds that (with zero latency) give you complete audio control over your environment. If you want to reduce the volume of a crying baby or a screeching subway train (without turning everything down), the Here buds will let you do that. If you’re at a concert and you want to pump up the bass, the Here buds will let you do that, too.
The product launched on Kickstarter two days ago with a $250K goal, and has surpassed that goal in around 48 hours. During the interim, we sat down with Doppler Labs founder Noah Kraft to discuss the product and get exclusive hands-on time with the app.
I realize that this video doesn’t actually give you the opportunity to hear what the Here buds sound like, but you can watch me do it!