18 June 2012
Go jogging with a robot
A flying robot that keeps joggers company as they run is attracting worldwide attention.
The Joggobot is a project of the Exertion Games Lab within the School of Media and Communications at RMIT University, which is headed by Dr Florian "Floyd" Mueller, a graduate of the MIT Media Lab and Fulbright fellow from Stanford University.
"Our aim is to inspire thinking about how technology, such as robots, can get people excited about being physically active again," Dr Mueller said.
"We use Joggobot to explore questions such as: 'Will jogging with Joggobot motivate you to run faster? Or can Joggobot make you enjoy running more?'
"A camera on the Joggobot, a commercially available quadcopter, focuses on a design on the runner's T-shirt.
"The Joggobot can function in two modes - like having a companion or walking the dog, or like a coach, pushing you a littler harder."
The Joggobot project has featured on ABC TV's Catalyst program, in The Sunday Age, and online across the world.
Sites that have reported the research include New Scientist (global), Forbes (USA), Discovery Channel (Denmark), The Mail on Sunday (Britain), Engadget (Germany), Robonovosti (Russia), Inilah (Indonesia), Haaretz (Israel), Hdblog (Italy), Teknofil (Norway), Shenzhen Daily (China), The Cambodia Herald and The Sunday Guardian (India).
Dr Mueller said: "Here at the Exertion Games Lab, we're inventing the future of gaming in order to understand how to design better interactive experiences, in particular games that require intense physical effort from players.
"The research is focused on the merging of 'play' and the active human body, drawing from research streams such as interaction design, human-computer interaction and games research.
"The culture in the Lab is one of interdisciplinary work fostered by creative scientists, designers, artists and engineers from all over the world."
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