Lonely joggers to have Joggobot’s company

Bored of jogging alone in the park? A new jogger drone is coming your way as the aerial robot will motivate runners who don't have a human partner to exercise with, researchers have claimed.

The invention, called 'Joggobot', flies a few feet in front to encourage the jogger to keep going.

The system is still under development by a team at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

Users can programme the helicopter with a smartphone app to control the pace and height it stays at, the Daily Mail reported.

A camera on the drone locks onto a blue and orange marker on the runner's T-shirt to ensure that the two stay together.

There is a ‘companion mode’ which makes the device stick to the jogger's pace, and a ‘coach mode’ to encourage a more challenging speed.

In tests, the designers have found that the coaching mode works best when it flies at above head level, as if it were the dominant partner.

If the runner suddenly takes a wrong turn and is no longer in view, the Joggobot, powered by four small battery-driven rotors, makes a landing.

One of the programmers, Chad Toprak, said: ‘Social joggers have partners they can run with. But sometimes they aren't available, so the next best thing could be a robot.’

‘It's a really unique feeling to be running with it. The coach mode basically tries to push you to your limits,’ he added.

‘It flies in front of you at a very fast speed and you've got to try and catch up. I've tried running and sprinting with it and I can't catch up with it,’ Toprak said.

‘Here's a new view on robotic technology as a social companion,’ Toprak's colleague Dr Florian Mueller said.

‘People haven't really explored that yet, and we think there's huge potential for seeing robots as social companions for exercise,’ he added.
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