Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Robot Helps You Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Developed by Intuitive Automata, Autom is a diet robot that acts as a personal weight loss coach. Originally announced in 2007, the petite tabletop golem reminds you to watch what you eat and asks how much you exercised today, among other health goals. Only about 2 percent of people who diet lose weight and keep it off. Autom aims to help more dieters achieve their ideal body by aiding them in tracking their progress consistently. And despite the name, there's nothing automated about Autom. The more you use her, the more she learns about you and customizes her advice. It's just like having a mini personal coach in your home; no two conversations are the same, and monthly updates ensure that she always has something new to say.
Autom is much more effective at helping someone stick with a diet than doing the same thing on a computer, tablet, or phone. Testers have also grown attached to the robot, talking about her like a family member or friend after just a few weeks of having a brief conversation with her daily. “Not only that, nearly everyone named her and many people even dressed her up with things like scarves, hats, or a red feather boa!” says Kidd, who based Autom on his Ph.D. work at the MIT Media Lab. There, he spent years studying the psychology of human-robot interaction and its health-related applications.
Slated to ship in May or June of 2013, Autom is produced in partnership with Chinese manufacturer PCH International. Intuitive Automata is currently running an Indiegogo campaign, where you can get Autom without a health coach subscription for $199 or with a full year's subscription for $249. More ordering options and information are available on the Indiegogo page.