Joggobot: A Robotic Running Companion

<p>Could this be the future of physical exercise?</p>

If you’re a frequent jogger, then you’ll know that while you’re out there pounding the streets it can get pretty lonely. Even with your iPod playing, a bit of companionship while racking up the mileage makes it all the more bearable. And that companion doesn’t necessarily need to be human.

Meet Joggobot, an AR drone that isn’t into warfare and instead wants to help you get healthy. This research project, from Eberhard Gräther and Florian Mueller at the Exertion Games Lab, combines exercise and robotics, exploring how autonomous machines can facilitate the experience of getting fit.

Joggobot is a customized Parrot AR.Drone that tracks a jogger’s position using an built-in camera and tag detection software. The device tracks markers worn by the jogger so it can follow and respond to you. Working as both motivator and pacemaker, the drone can spur you on as it hovers ahead of you or flying alongside you for encouragement, perhaps offering you praise or abuse depending on how well you’re doing.

As a general aid in getting you off the couch and onto the streets, what could be better than the idea of doing laps of the park with a quadcopter? So, here’s to a future where we jog with drones and shadow box with robots.