In March, we introduced you to Tacocopter, a drone helicopter that could automatically deliver tacos to wherever you were standing.
Meet the opposite of that. It's name is Joggobot, and, like the Tacocopter, it's a drone helicopter that is built to interact with humans. But instead of air-delivering a bag of Mexican food to your lazy butt, this unmanned copter flies alongside of you while you jog and makes sure you're keeping up a proper, brisk pace. And if you can't keep up a proper, brisk pace?
It shoots you in the head with a laser.
Well, not really. Actually, it just slows down for you. Maybe in version 2.0, it will have lasers.
For now, however, the Joggobot has just two modes, neither of which involve lasers: In the first, your running sets the pace that the Joggobot flies, while in the second, the Joggobot tracks how fast you're going and then speeds up over time to make you go faster. In both modes, the Joggobot flies in front of you and uses a camera to track a pair of sensors you wear on your shirt. So, for those imagining roads full of joggers being chased by miniature helicopters -- it's the other way around. The joggers are chasing the Joggobots, like carrots dangled on strings, just out of reach.
The Joggobot prototype comes from the Exertion Games Lab at RMIT University in Australia. Below, check out a video of the little robot who just might be your next running partner:
Like Tacocopter, the Joggobot is still in development and likely "many years" from being released in stores, according to The Age. Among the questions that the Joggobot team will have to consider:
- How high or low to the ground should the Joggobot fly in order to be the most motivational running partner it can be?
- What's the best way for a runner to instruct the Joggobot to slow down or speed up?
- If you are running with Joggobot outdoors, and the Joggobot flies a few feet in front of the runner, how can you ensure that the Joggobot doesn't just crash directly into a pedestrian on the street?
...and others, I'm sure.
For a more in-depth look at the Joggobot, watch this segment from ABC Australia's "Catalyst" program. And when you're done with that, go outside, take a run, and enjoy these final years of the outdoors without little buzzing robot-coaches all over our streets and parks.