Those perpetually dilated pupils and that mechanically engineered voice are just the trick to keep us all motivated and healthy - or are they? Intuitive Automata has designed a robot to help you keep track of your eating and exercise habits. It is certainly an unprecedented feat to be the first company putting socially interactive robots on the market for health and wellness purposes.
Optimism and a no-scolding policy, in addition to unscripted conversations that develop progressively based on previous dialogue exchange, are the key ingredients to her effectiveness. The perks of the monthly subscription to her services seem worthwhile since, as long as she has an Internet connection, she can supply you with information that can be backed up by online sources. With calorie information for about 75,000 foods and a constant tab on updates and information pertaining to new restaurant dishes and grocery store products, you’ll always be informed. For those of us who do not see consulting a personal trainer as a financially plausible idea, this robot could be a viable alternative.
But while supportive messages and a more or less encyclopedic knowledge of various diet options are a great way to encourage success with health and weight-loss, is it really so capable of approximating human pathos, and does one really form an emotional bond with this electrically powered robot? Testimonials have of course not yet surfaced, but her creators appear to be confident about the salience of her emotional bonding skills.
It appears that humans are apt to remain in interaction with the robot for longer when there are engagement gestures present, hence the emphasis placed on Autom’s ability to consistently keep eye contact with her human subject. But there is still a ways to go before the concept of emotional bonding between human and robot can be justifiably defended, which leaves the question of just how far robotics engineers can go in their effort to imbue these serviceable mechanical things with human qualities. Autom even humorously comments, “My eye movements can be a little strange as you probably noticed. The engineers are still working on getting it right.”
As opposed to the initial launching price of $500 to $600 suggested by Intuitive Automata at the beginning of the year, it is now $199 with a $19.99 per month subscription. If you’re willing to adopt her as part of your immediate family as her creators are confident you will, be sure to anticipate receiving her within six months of your order. It will be interesting to observe how sales develop in the U.S. According to the website, you can order her now for early 2012 delivery.