Jogging is a good exercise to keep the body fit and well. But, jogging could be boring without a partner. At times, it is better to have a little bit of company and encouragement while jogging. Keeping that in mind, The Exertion Games Lab at RMIT University in Melbourne has developed a flying drone robot called ‘Joggobot.’ Joggobot will fly with the joggers and keep them company.
Joggobot is a drone which has four rotors. It has an onboard camera. The camera includes a detection software that keeps track of special markings on a T-shirt worn by the runner. Then it flies a few paces ahead (within about 10 feet) and over a height of about one meter of the jogger in order to set a good pace and and thus provides a sense of motivation and competition. If the runner ditches into the bushes or gets out of its sight, the Joggobot drops to the ground.
The Joggobot drone has two modes: companion mode and coach mode. In a companion mode, the device stays alongside the jogger. In coach mode, a speed is set by the runner using a custom-built smartphone app. Joggobot has been designed as a substitute for a running partner. In fact, this autonomous flying quadcopter helps a jogger feel that he/she is not alone.
In a press statement, the design team said, “Both the Joggobot and the jogger are affected by environmental conditions such as wind. Both’s performance is affected by rain. Both get “tired” (Joggobot’s speed diminishes with low battery) and with both you can hear if they invest physical effort: the jogger puffs, the Joggobot whirrs. We believe the match in focus on the body can facilitate more engaging experiences, for example joggers might “relate” more to Joggobot because it has a body, they might even develop empathy because both have a body-focused experience. This is important, as we know from sports research that social factors are key when it comes to exercising.”
The longevity of Joggobot’s battery is currently only 20 minutes. It means, right now it can accompany the joggers for a maximum of 20 minutes. The team is planning to make more upgrades to the quadcopter by increasing the range of controls over the next few years.
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