Welcome!

I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Jaco Robotic Arm Fun


     I recently had the opportunity of testing a robotic arm on loan from http://kinovarobotics.com/products/jaco-rehab-edition/. A couple of University of Alberta computer science fellows made the 1 1/2 hour drive down to our place with all of their equipment. They are developing an interface that allows the arm to detect objects and reach for them automatically under command. They allowed me to test the software they are developing to help determine how much faster their interface was than commanding the arm manually with the joystick. The arm did have a lot of knuckles and bends, so it did take some getting used to in manual mode, although some movements were already combined and simplified already. The interface that they built made most tasks automatic and a lot easier to perform. They are definitely on the right track.

     The testing involved moving and manipulating different objects on a table. First I would select them with a mouse on a computer screen and the arm would reach out and align itself to pick up the object automatically. Then the arm would be put back into its home position with the touch of a button, and I would repeat the action manually with the joystick. The times to complete the tasks were compared. I suppose that it was a little bit of work, but being able to play with such a technically advanced piece of machinery was absolutely amazing, I had a blast! To a gear-head like me, this was heaven! Thank you so much to Katelyn Loshny who made it possible, and Camilo and Oscar for coming all the way out here with their multitude of techno-stuff, what a great day!