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  • 01.23.11

The JACO Robotic Arm Can Scratch Your Back, Hand Out Drinks

Would you pay $35,000 for a robotic arm that can scratch your back? It sounds like a silly investment, but makes sense for people who don’t have use of their arms due to a spinal cord injury or degenerative disease. That’s what Kinova, a Montreal-based startup, is banking on with its JACO robotic arm. Fast Company had a chance to check out the robot in action last week at Kaiser Permanente’s Garfield Innovation Center.

JACO robotic arm

Would you pay $35,000 for a robotic arm that can scratch your back? It sounds like a silly investment, but makes sense for people who don’t have use of their arms due to a spinal cord injury or degenerative disease. That’s what Kinova, a Montreal-based startup, is banking on with its JACO robotic arm. Fast Company had a chance to check out the robot in action last week at Kaiser Permanente’s Garfield Innovation Center.

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The joystick-powered JACO robot can be installed on any power wheelchair. The wheelchair’s battery powers the bot, which consumes less energy than a light bulb. The wheelchair was released last summer, and so far, Kinova has found the most success in the Netherlands, where the government fully reimburses users for the cost. Check out the JACO bot below.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.

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