Mac grad’s robotic arm gives students a chance to solve tomorrow’s problems

Michael Jobity, a graduate of the McMaster Engineering, Physics and Management program, is the president of Jetson Infinity, a company that offers easily programmable robotic arms that can be used for educational and prototyping purposes.

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Much of what you need to know about the robotic arm launched by Michael Jobity can be learned from the name of his company – Jetson Infinity.

It’s futuristic, a bit like The Jetsonsthe 1960s animated television sitcom set in the year 2062 (featuring flying cars, innovative gadgets and robotic contraptions.)

And its applications are endless.

Need an automated electric vehicle to charge? Why not create a demo with the robotic arm that could show how robotics could be used to connect the car to the charging port?

Jetson Infinity offers easily programmable robotic arms that can be used for educational and prototyping purposes. (Image courtesy of Jetson Infinity).

Have another futuristic problem? Jobity says whether you’re a school-age kid, new to coding, or an expert, Jetson Infinity and its robotic arm can help you find a solution.

“Essentially, it’s a general-purpose robotic arm that can be used for a multitude of different applications,” says Jobity. “You basically plug it into your laptop and then you’re good to go.”

It uses python, a general purpose, universally accepted programming language that is well suited for those just learning to code, says the entrepreneur.

The graduate of McMaster’s Engineering, Physics and Management program created the Robotic Arms product line in response to a growing demand for educational tools to help children learn coding and develop engineering skills.

Once a student has the robotic arm, they can plug it into their laptop, download apps – or create their own app – and use this robotic arm to start solving everyday problems.

Real world problems

Beyond simply supplying the arm, Jetson Infinity works with customers to help integrate it into existing curriculum or to collaboratively develop educational modules where the arm can be used in control systems, coding algorithms , creative design and robotics.

Jobity points to one such collaboration as a time when it realized the global impact the robotic arm could have.

Jetson Infinity is working with Arizona State University and a STEM company in South Africa to use the robotic arm to teach Johannesburg students how to code, says Jobity.

“We have weekly meetings with a coordinator. He was talking about smart cities, how Johannesburg is focusing on smart cities and how they’re trying to alleviate traffic,” says Jobity.

“I was like, ‘oh my God, these are real-world issues he’s describing. And we’re going to be able to teach these kids and open up a challenge for them where, at the end of the day, they can use their knowledge and apply it to a prevalent issue in their city.

2unify

This robotic innovation concept ties into another technology Jobity helped develop – an automated hands-free guitar tuning stand named 2unify (pronounced tune-if-eye).

An acoustic guitar resting on a stand with mechanical pegs.  The '2unify' logo is in the top right corner.
2unify, an automated hands-free guitar tuning stand. (Photo courtesy of Michael Jobity).

The innovation, which mechanically tunes the pegs of a guitar, grew out of a year-end project that the then physics student tackled with a group of his peers.

2unify even landed the band on the Canadian version of the reality show dragon’s lair, where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a group of venture capitalists in hopes of securing funding and business partnerships.

Jobity says the memorable experience proved to him the value of the business skills he learned during his time at McMaster – particularly through the support the group received from Forgea business incubator funded by McMaster.

“They gave us a standing ovation after our presentation. So that was really great,” says Jobity.

Jobity returned to The Forge for help in growing Jetson Infinity and says the team has been instrumental in guiding the company, from resolving manufacturing issues to developing patents, through to the acquisition of storytelling skills.

“The network and resources are really strong. And they’re really keen on supporting young entrepreneurs,” says Jobity. “I’m truly grateful for everything The Forge does.”

Addition to toolset

The Jetson Infinity robotic arm is present in 15 schools in the United States and used in three universities and five companies, explains Jobity. He hopes to see that total number grow to 100 within a year.

He says he sees great potential for growth as more education funding goes into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). He also likes the idea of ​​waiting to see what a new generation of thinkers come up with.

“My ultimate goal is to have a student develop breakthrough technology,” says Jobity. “And when they’re asked, ‘so when were you inspired by that?’ They’ll say, “Oh, I had a Jetson infinite arm.”

Breakthrough technology aside – the young entrepreneur says the main goal is to give students a tool that will reduce barriers to the world of technology.

“It helps students simply add another resource to their tool set,” says Jobity. “You have a ruler, a pencil case, a manual, a robotic arm, right? It sounds pretty funny, but I think it creates a pretty exciting future.

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