Bot Up, Coach!
Lately, I have been running with my dog Buddy. He is excellent company and keeps good pace. I wouldn’t exactly call him my coach, but he does motivate me to keep going.
If you do not have a “Buddy,” there is a robot for that called Joggobot. The jogging robot is the creation of Eberhard Gräther and Floyd Mueller of the Exertion Games Lab at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. By modifying an off the shelf hovercraft (Parrot AR.Drone) with cameras and sensors, Gräther and Mueller created a ‘pattern seeking’ robot that follows the runner ahead. The jogger wears a quirky orange and blue patterned running shirt that signals the drone to keep pace at three and a half feet off the ground. Once the hovering robot looses sight of this pattern, he instantly drops to the ground like bird sh@#.
The purpose of this research is to explore future robot-human exercise patterns. For example, instead of buying a “Body by Jake” in the year 2050, one may purchase Jake-Bot (a personal trainer and exercise equipment in one). In the meantime, Joggobot might be able to tell its more about ourselves as we try to improve the ultimate running machine.