There are all kinds of high-tech weight loss tools, from iPhone apps to the the Fitbit calorie counter. Now there’s a new way to track your diet and exercise, with the help of a Autom, the robot weight loss coach. It even wants to know how you’re feeling.
Cory Kidd of Intuitive Automata Inc. first developed Autom while studying at MIT. Prototypes were tested by patients at the Boston Medical Center and a bigger pilot program is planned for next year.
Dieters start by entering the details of their nutrition and exercise into Autom, who sits on a countertop, ready for conversation. “I know this setup with talking to me might be a little strange, but I hope that you’ll get used to it,” the robot says. The user then makes selections on Autom’s screen to have a daily conversation about his or her weight loss progress. The robot follows social cues, will turn to look at the user and blinks its eyes.
“It was just kind of instant love,” Amna Carreiro, who lost nine pounds during the six-month trial study in Boston. “You would get instant feedback, and you would be reminded of your goals.”