This Talkative, Winking Robot Helps Dieters Lose Weight

From Mashable:

A huge benefit of hiring a personal trainer, fitness coach or clinical nutritionist is knowing they are there to keep you accountable. By talking about day-to-day progress and goals, clients are more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle. For those who can’t afford a trainer at the gym or a personal fitness coach, a robot named Autom with human-like expressions may be a welcomed alternative.

The Autom weight loss coach, a know-it-all robot developed by Intuitive Automata, is designed to have daily conversations with users at home. She tracks calories, says motivational things, tells you about the latest weight loss trends and gives you personalized suggestions. She is designed as a personal lifestyle coach: it takes in data about the person who owns it and gradually adapts its responses to keep you on track. “The more it learns about the individual user, the more it customizes the feedback advice to keep the individual motivated,” the companies said in a statement.

The robot also counts calories so you don’t have to. She currently knows the calorie count in nearly 75,000 foods, including meals at popular restaurants. Since menus and listings change, Autom is set to automatically update monthly while connected to Wi-Fi. Autom is currently available for pre-order. The first Autom devices will be shipped in early 2013. The robot is $199 with a monthly subscription of $19.99.

Why Am I Curious? 

Interesting idea although I am not convinced it can have the same success as having a personal trainer or a nutritionist because the very human feelings of embarrassment when not meeting a goal or the stigma attached with “failing” is far more prominent and compelling when you are accountable – although voluntarily – to another human being. That said, i do think it has potential and room for improvement. For example, the whole interaction would be much smoother if i did not have to press buttons on the robot but rather could just talk to it a la Siri for a more natural interaction.


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