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Many powered wheelchair users also struggle with upper limb function and could benefit from the use of a wheelchair-mounted robotic arm, which have been shown to increase independence and reduce the need for caregiver assistance. They are connected to the wheelchair's side or tray table, and powered by the wheelchair's battery to make it mobile. This puts natural limits on its battery life, since it competes for electricity with the wheelchair's normal functions. The devices on the market today cost around $35,000, which is prohibitive for most people in wheelchairs, explaining why the global leader only sells a few dozen units every year.

NBEL, the Neuro-Biomorphic Engineering Lab at The Open University of Israel, is developing an affordable, energy-efficient robotic arm for wheelchair users with adaptive control capabilities to facilitate independent execution of daily tasks such as eating, drinking, reaching, and picking up objects. The robotic arm is powered by neuromorphic computing, a cutting edge technology that uses specialized chips with an architecture that mimics the structure of the brain, making it up to 1,000 times more energy efficient than traditional processors. With direct support for the project from Intel Labs and Accenture Labs, NBEL has become one of the handful of non-tech giants around the world with access to Loihi, Intel's neuromorphic computing chip with real-time learning capabilities. By using more affordable hardware components with an algorithm that improves with use and such low-level energy consumption, the price of the robotic arm could be more than 1 time lower than the prices of today’s market, making it feasible to even include in government subsidized assistive equipment and healthcare packages. Currently controlled by the wheelchair's joystick to limit the need for additional equipment, future research will explore human-machine interface controls like eye gaze technology to cater to users with severely limited movement.