Swappable Jizai Arms bring new meaning to "Could you lend me a hand?"
Equipping people with extra sets of robotic arms could definitely help them perform certain tasks, but what role might such arms play in social interactions? The wild-looking Jizai Arms were designed with that question in mind.
Created by a team of scientists at the University of Tokyo, the Jizai Arms take their name from the traditional Japanese "Jizai Okimono" articulated animal figurines. Jizai is pronounced "jee-zye," and roughly translates to "freely" … or in this case, more like "freely moving."
At the base of the experimental setup is a backpack with six built-in sockets. Different types of system-specific articulated robotic arms can be plugged into one or more of those sockets, then controlled in real time by either the wearer or another person. The arms were designed to be aesthetically appealing, and to "harmonize with the human body."
We're still waiting to hear back from the researchers regarding the exact means by which the Jizai Arms are controlled, although a report on the Analytics Vidhya website states that a wireless remote which actually looks like a miniature version of the arms is used. The report also claims that with four arms attached, the wearable setup tips the scales at 14 kg (31 lb).
For the study, groups of volunteers wore Jizai Arms systems while physically interacting with one another is a variety of role-playing social scenarios. Participants were encouraged to exchange arms with one other as they saw fit, and to give or receive them as gifts. They could also control both their own arms and those of other volunteers.
"From our role-playing sessions, we found that our bodies could precisely sense the attachment/detachment of arms, and we especially felt a strong impact when detaching or reducing the number of robotic arms worn," the scientists stated in a paper on the study. "We also suggested adding customizability to the robotic arms to generate a sense of social ownership, an individual's sense of ownership towards a specific artificial body part shared among multiple persons, as a future research topic."
The paper was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. You can see the Jizai Arms in action, in the video below.
Source: Jizai Arms
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