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.