For those of you that enjoy running but sometimes require a little bit of encouragement, The Exertion Games Lab at RMIT University in Melbourne has developed a drone called Joggobot. The autonomous flying bot can not only keep a steady pace, but it can also provide encouragement when you start to flag.

joggobot, exercise robot, robotics, drone, robotic running companion, The Exertion Games Lab, RMIT University

Joggobot is an autonomous flying quadcopter that features an on-board sensor that locks onto the pattern of a t-shirt that the runner is wearing. This allows it to fly in front of the runner, keep pace and, should you need it, give you the motivation to keep running. Its two settings allow it to either match the runner’s speed or ‘coach’ you by setting a slightly more challenging speed.

Instead of using robots to perform tasks for us, The Exertion Games Lab believes they can be companions for physical activity. Instead of using exercise apps on your mobile phone, the creators think that a robotic companion can lead to more engaging experiences.

The Joggobot also acts and reacts to its environment and the runner, such as extreme weather conditions like wind and rain. In a press statement, the design team said: “Both the Joggobot and the jogger are affected by environmental conditions such as wind. Both’s performance is affected by rain. Both get “tired” (Joggobot’s speed diminishes with low battery) and with both you can hear if they invest physical effort: the jogger puffs, the Joggobot whirrs. We believe the match in focus on the body can facilitate more engaging experiences, for example joggers might “relate” more to Joggobot because it has a body, they might even develop empathy because both have a body-focused experience. This is important, as we know from sports research that social factors are key when it comes to exercising.”

Unfortunately, Joggobot’s battery currently only lasts around 20 minutes which isn’t exactly ideal for those training for a marathon, but the team assures us that they plan to make more upgrades to the robot over the next few years.

+ Exertion Games Lab

via Wired