Paul Doyle - Kinova JACO Robot Interview

Hi Guys and welcome, on this video we are doing Interview with Paul Doyle from Hereward College in conventry. We are speaking to Paul about his work with using the the Jaco Robot, from Kinova! So if you want to see how this one armed robot has been assisting people with upper body disabilities, then please stay tuned!


Hi Guys, I’m Philip English from robophil.com, now on this video we are speaking to Paul Doyle, who is the Head of access, research and development at Hereward College in Conventry, England. Hereward is a national FE college for young people with disabilities. Robotics is one of the many areas covered by Paul's team. We are speaking to Paul about his work with Jaco the assistive Robot arm for upper body disability persons in power wheelchairs.

Philip:

Right! Hi guys! We are here with Paul Doyle, who is the Head of access, research and development at Hereward College in Conventry, England. Hereward is a national FE college for young people with disabilities. Robotics is one of the many areas covered by Paul's team. We are speaking to Paul about his work with Jaco the assistive Robot arm for upper body disability persons in power wheelchairs.

Hi guys and welcome to Robophil Video Blog, I am standing here with Paul. Paul, please can you introduce yourself?

Paul:

Hi there! My name is Paul Doyle and I am the Section Development Manager at Hereward College.

Philip:

Brilliant! Thank you Paul! Especially for being here today. So to start with, we just want a quick overview of the JACO Robot.

Paul:

Okay! Well the JACO robot is a robot with assistive device for people with upper limb disabilities, it usually fits for their whellchair and they can control the arm through their wheelchair controller that enable them to do things that they were unable to do before.

Philip:

Brilliant! Thanks Paul for the quick overview of JACO. The next question I got is, how did you get in to robotics?

Paul:

Well, it is a long and complicated story but I came from Midland, so originally I worked in the automotive industry, in there we had long experience of using robotics to spot welding, then making the transition into education. I took the experience with me and for number of years I ran the robotics in Hereward College, where students built small robotic kits and got their heads around the concept of robotics.

Philip:

Alright! Brillint Paul! Can you tell me a little more about the JACO?

Paul:

Yes! We've been using the JACO here at Hereward COllege for our students and it is seven degree of freedom robot with a thumb and two finger in. We are primarily using it to help students to carry out activities that they ordinarily can't undertake, so looking at things like picking up drinks, identifying tasks that students wants to do like loading and unloading the dishwasher or washing machine and so we're actually going through the process of identifying what the students like to do and seeing what the JACO can facilitate.

Philip:

Okay Paul! SO what are the uses you like about JACO?

Paul:

We found that the students such like doing things for themselves, some robots are based around about providing in taking information but this is very much hands-on can do, our students actually like the ability to be able to manipulate things for themselves.

Philip:

So what kind of work have you done together with the JACO?

Paul:

Well, working with the students identified that the JACO is a very complex piece of machinery and to use effectively there are a number of issues that we need to address before hand and the students are really helpful in identifying that because often the students' wheelchair belongs to the NHS so we need to negotiate with the NHS to actually fix it to their wheelchair, then the students needs to know how to control it. THere are lots of different methods are being able to control JACO and it's the students who drives that agenda forward really. They tell us what the best solution is for them.

Philip:

So when you showed that the robot is working what is the reaction that you get?

Paul:

Usually! it's a single word reaction, it is "Wow!". The students starts looking at something that that is a little bit science fiction really but at the second reaction that we get is when it is on the wheelchair and that they start to look at the potential in terms of being able to do things for themselves. So there is another "Wow!" but slightly different one.

Philip:

So you have done lots of research about JACO, can you tell me about this?

Paul:

Hereward has the luxury of having an occupational therepist as part of our team, so we've been working with our OT to identify the tasks and how to achieve those tasks with the number of students. We've looked at so that the physical means getting onto a wheelchair so that takes a bit of research, so no two wheelchairs really the same and no two uses the same so we've had spent a lot of time researching with manufactures and supplies about how to integrate JACO into a wheelchair. At all times also being aware that the student wants to be part and center at the process so it's bringing together lots of different components to create a solution that meets that person's needs.

Philip:

So what is the goal for Kinova Robotics and JACO with its usese?

Paul:

I think the over-arching goal is to provide a level of independence to people with upper limb ability impairments, so it makes people more independent and able to carry out tasks and activities independently for themselves.

Philip:

Brilliant! That is very cool! So what are some of the most exciting and memorable moments you had with JACO?

Paul:

I think whether the most exciting issues that up stands out in my mind is that, one of our users attenden a 70th birthday party for his grandfather and during the evening and they raised a glass to celebrate his birthday and this young man was able to participate in a social event by raising a glass to his granddad. We were expecting that because the JACO normally is sort of a tool to facilitate well as a workaday things, eating and drinking but sometimes drinking is a part of the social event and our student was able to participate in the event, he was very pleased and very excited to tell me about it.

Philip:

That sounds really amazing, so he was there, he raised the glass as well. Okay! Brilliant! So other thatn lifting what sort of other things have you seen the JACO can do?

Paul:

Well, paying or based on the college level students follow arts-based courses and one of our students is actully using a whiteboard pen and drawing on the whiteboard with the JACO, so he was extending his palette to speak as a individual impaired mobility, he could move his fingers but not his arms and by using the JACO with the whiteboard he was able to draw much larger pictures, something they'd like doing, something he did too.

Philip:

Sounds very impressive again, so he was interacting a lot with the class as well with the boards and he can extends staffs.

Paul:

He is an artist and he wanted to make palette so to speak in this is to enable them to do so.

Philip:

Okay and so what was the games you play your with your robot?

Paul:

Well, here at the college, students play a game of watcher and that's to top the bowls and we've been using the JACO to pick the ball up and roll it so the students can knock the other students ball away from the puck.

Philip:

Okay. Sounds like a very fun games.

Paul:

Yes it is a very fun games however because the JACO can learn a fix positions one of the issues that we find is once he got the optimum position the students all they need to do is just repeat that, unfortunately, every time.

Philip:

So they just press the same button again and again. Oh! Very clever robot.

Paul:

Absolutely! I think we're going to need to change the rules on JACO.

Philip:

Okay! Brilliant! Brilliant! So how to program JACO and how does it work?

Paul:

Okay. Well, JACK is programmed through a bespoke piece of software that runs on a PC and we connect the PC to JACO using a USB connection and we change all the parameters through the software then download to the JACO then the students can try at the machine and it is a tweak required. They tell us what's needed to setup and do the same process again.

Philip:

Is it quite easy to use and setup or?

Paul:

If you understand the nature of cartesian square the robot moves in three dimensions, it is relatively straightforward.

Philip:

That's good to hear. So are there any challenges that you get from programming the JACO robot or?

Paul:

I think the challenges arise from working with people with disabilities because the JACO is a relatively powerful tool which need to make sure that what we do is safe. What we can do with the JACO is programmed a safety zone around the individual, so that we can go anywhere near individual space so they got job that JACO's hand is not going to cause any damage.

Philip:

You mentioned earlier that you used to teach a richmond module and who are the few inspirations that got you into Robotics?

Paul:

Rodney Brooks, he's the guys responsible for the Roomba Robotic Vacuum Cleaner. I think what he's done is he actually has taken a concept of so complex machines and actually made them do something useful and some people might think that vacuuming the floors is useful, and also to do something useful within a reasonable price bracket. I think he's got the package and I think that necessarily is a moving forward with robotics and we'd like to be able to adopt that process at Hereward.

Philip:

And okay so what do you think about the big misconceptions about the JACO?

Paul:

There are two major misconception about the JACO. One is the speed. JACO is a machine that moves a specific speed for safety reasons, so it'll never be as fast as a human pair of hands. The second misconception is that JACO works automatically, but the users are always in control with the JACO, as a consequence he will not do things for you, you will do things for yourself.

Philip:

They can go and pick the glass up and drink up themselves.

Paul:

Absolutely! I think what we are looking here is a device steerable by an indivdual. A lot of people think robotic's thing is do things automatically. But it is the robot manipulator rather than the robot itself.

Philip:

So what are some of the important skills that you need to know when working with JACO?

Paul:

Well, to fix a JACO that uses a wheelchair requires multiple sets of skills, there are mechanical skills, electrical skills and electronic skills. People also need to be up to program to a certain degree but I think one of the most important skills is being able to work with somebody or an individual basis having people skills because as I said earlier the robot is a technology and technology has to fit to people's lives.

Philip:

Brilliant! So what advice do you have for you aspiring robotists?

Paul:

I'd say look at the the world's outside industry and JACO is a device that sits within the world special needs and robotics will be forming a part of many people's lives not just in the industrial space, everything, in term of car factories and automotives speaces, there will be robots everywhere so look around you there will be robotics opportunities everywhere at some point.

Philip:

What are the other aspects of working with JACO that you can transfer to other robotics?

Paul:

Absolutely! JACO is a seven degreen of freedom robots and not that dissimilar to the robots that you'd find in industry so there's a there is a whole lot of skills and knowledge that you can transfer between both domestic robots, such as JACO and industrial robos that you find in any other car factory.

Philip:

There is a whole lot of mechanical, software and electrical skills?

Paul:

I think yes, I mean robotics really is a multi-disciplinary skills separately, so you have to love all those skills to enable you to actually delivery a solution to an indivodual requirement whethere that be eating and drinking or assembing a car.

Philip:

So what is the future for you and for JACO?

Paul:

We are intending to continue using JACO at Hereward College, it's very much part of our curriculum for people with their upper limb ability issues. What we'd like to do is actually have more JACO in the UK and Ireland but I think what we need to do now is find a mechanism where we can try the costing, JACO is still quite an expensive piece of kit.

Philip:

To people that are interested in finding out more, do you have any social media networks?

Paul:

Yes we do, we have a facebook page, we have a twitter account and we have the college website.

Philip:

Brilliant! and to wrapped it up, what do you think the future is for robotics?

Paul:

I think from a Hereward perspective it'll be sometime before humaniod robots are intelligent enough to carry out personal care tasks and safety base tasks and in a affordable, manageable way, so I think one of the future that we're looking at is perphaps the remote operation of devices by pilots bases in another part of the world and we are looking at perphaps personal care tasks being carried out by remotely operated pilots and then when they need to do something that's relatively straightforward and safe from reverting back to robotic control. I think that is potentially a way of dribing down the cost to delivering personalized robotic based services.

Philip:

Brilliant! Thanks very much for your time Paul and for demonstrating the JACO, it has been very interesting and very much appreciated. Thank you!

Paul:

Thank you!

Philip:

Thanks guys and I hope you enjoyed the interview and I want to say a big thank you to Paul for his time in the interview which has give us some more in-depth insight on how JACO is being used, it is very mych appreciated.

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Download the PDF files and Choreograph Tutorials - http://www.robophil.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Aldebaran-NAO-Tutorial-Video-1-Say.pdf

Aldebaran Basic Tutorials - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLma9tC7VHPpi8Bz4i2P5FuMlfMhjZ3nJ-

Robo Phil Robot Tutorials - http://www.robophil.com/training/

Aldebaran Choreograph NAO Tutorial Video 2 "Tactile Head" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCgbZ6fJ8HE&list=PLma9tC7VHPpi8Bz4i2P5FuMlfMhjZ3nJ-