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Buddyfit is a smart dumbbell that incorporates a rolling robot on one side, designed to interact with users in their homes. The robot's main function is to motivate individuals to exercise by displaying different emotions based on the completion of their daily fitness routine. The aim of the robot is to evoke human empathy and encourage people to finish their exercises by exhibiting various behaviors and emotions. Seeing the robot express happiness when users complete their workout provides a sense of accomplishment, increasing the feeling of being rewarded. Conversely, if the exercise is left unfinished, the robot can inspire individuals to complete it by displaying a sad emotional state.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased awareness of the importance of maintaining good health, resulting in significant growth in the global home fitness market. Digital platforms, equipment, and apps are available to aid in at-home training. Finding a virtual fitness trainer or partner through apps can increase the likelihood and intensity of exercising, but the level of interaction and connection is weaker compared to in-person activities. It’s easy to disconnect and procrastinate exercise sessions by simply turning off the screen.
How can we assist individuals in staying motivated to exercise at home, considering the ease of getting disconnected and procrastinating with digital fitness products?
Not all social robots are highly intelligent and beneficial. Instead of performing every task for humans, a 'weak robot' motivates individuals to take action through its vulnerability and endearing behavior.
01 Sociable Trash Box Robot, ICD Lab
The robot doesn’t directly clean the streets; instead, it locates litter and employs a cute gesture to request assistance from nearby individuals. People can develop positive habits by deriving satisfaction from aiding the robot. (image source: https://www.icd.cs.tut.ac.jp/~okada/)
02 LOVOT, GROOVE X
This home robot has no purpose other than to seek affectionate hugs. Owners experience emotional satisfaction by nurturing a dependent entity and finding contentment in their care. (image source: https://lovot.life/en/technology/)
Inspired by weak robots, Buddyfit utilizes empathy to encourage users. Similar to a pet, when individuals spend time with the fitness robot, it shows happiness. Conversely, if they neglect the robot, it expresses sadness.
02 Speaker & Charging panel
03 Mapping Sensor
04 Drive Mechanism
01 Emotional Companion
At home, the robots engages in emotional interaction with its owners and develops a bond as a family member.
02 Pace Control
To assist users in lifting dumbbells at a slow and consistent pace, the robot emits an audible sound.
03 Posture Improvement
Using a gyro sensor, the robot detects and alerts users when the heights of two dumbbells are uneven to aid in building balanced muscles.
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