At RMIT there is a group of researchers investigating how and if a robot can be a companion when we exercise or jog. Called the Joggobot, the robot is able to track the position of the jogger via a camera and detection software. The Joggobot hovers beside and above the jogger and reacts to a myriad of elements, just as the jogger does. For example if it is raining, the jogger is affected and so too is Joggobot. If it’s windy, the jogger is affected and so too is Joggobot.
Lead by Eberhard Grather and Dr Florian “Floyd” Mueller, with help from Wouter Walmink, Chad Toprak, Josh Platt, Jennifer Lade, Jonathan Duckwork, Wendy Ju and Wolfgang Grather, the team at Exertion Games Lab at RMIT Melbourne, Australia are researching the future of play and the active human body.
“The Exertion Games Lab investigates the intersection between technology, the body and play, we call this the call this coming together Exertion Games. Joggobot is a form of an exertion game, as jogging is play (we are not jogging to get from A to B, but for the experience of jogging), and the Joggobot represents technology that is part of that experience. Joggobot as well as all of our other exertion games are inspirational pieces to inspire industry of what the future can and should be like in 10 years time.”
(Source: Exertion Games Lab)
Personally, I quite the like the idea of a robot joining me on my jogs. I like the idea of a jogging ‘companion’ to keep me going on the long runs.
The team at Exertion Games Lab are researching a number of different areas that involve activity and play. Check out their website and all the areas they are exploring. Of course, if you’re interested in researching the future of gaming, take a look at their projects.
Graether, E., Mueller, F. 2012. Joggobot: A Flying Companion as Flying Companion. CHI 2012. Interactivity.
Image ‘Footfall‘ by Andrew Coyle. Flickr CC BY 2.0