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Joggobot -

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Joggobot

Could your future jogging partner be a robot? Graham Phillips dons his trainers and hits the track
with the help of a flying machine called Joggobot.

TRANSCRIPT

Comments

Dr Graham Phillips

It can be hard sometimes, to find the motivation to go for the morning run. What I need is a
personal trainer. Or a robot.

NARRATION

This is Joggobot, a flying robot. It's one of the projects being developed in the Exertion Games
Lab at Melbourne's RMIT.

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

So what we are interested in the lab is the intersection between the body, play and technology. And
sports exercise is a form of play for us. And we believe the way to explore this is by actually
creating these type of experiences that we see can happen in ten years time. So that's why we
designed Joggobot in order to understand how it would be to interact with an embodied flying
system.

NARRATION

Joggobot is based on a commercially available quadrocopter.

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

What we've done is now we've kind of repurposed it for being a jogging companion. So we change the
software around and what it does now, it's got a little camera. And with the camera we track the
jogger, in fact the jogger's t-shirt, that we put a special marker on, and program the software so
that it stays, it always knows where the jogger is, and stays at a certain distance. And then we
modify the distance to understand how people react to the Joggobot when they're exercising.

Dr Graham Phillips

Okay, so the camera, that's the, the camera there?

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

That's the camera there. Yes.

Dr Graham Phillips

So can we have a look under the bonnet?

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Sure, yeah. So there's a sensor that measures the altitude, and ...

Dr Graham Phillips

Oh, so you can choose say whether it flies at say this height or this height?

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

So yeah, we do the software that does that. Because we want to figure out what does it actually
mean if the Joggobot flies like on chest level, what happens if it flies higher? Right, you know,
if this takes on the role of a coach, if the coach looks down to you, what does it do to you?

Dr Graham Phillips

Yeah, yeah.

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

What if it changes if it flies lower? Is it more like a dog when it is actually much lower? So
these are the kind of questions we really want to explore.

Dr Graham Phillips

So I guess if you're looking up to it, there might be a chance that you know, you're feeling
slightly inferior to it, and you'll do what it says. Where if you're looking down on it, you'll
say, 'No, I'm not going to run faster.'

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Exactly, yeah.

NARRATION

Well, I can't put it off any longer. It's time to do some jogging.

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

You have to put the t-shirt on, it's got the marker.

Dr Graham Phillips

Okay, okay that's the marker that the camera locks on?

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Exactly, yeah. And then it tracks you, and off you go.

Dr Graham Phillips

Okay. Give it a go.

NARRATION

I must say, I'm not entirely sure which of us is the trainer. So if you get sick of this Joggobot
telling you how to jog, can you do a runner? Can you hide?

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Good question. (LAUGHS)

NARRATION

What, you can't get away from this robot?

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Actually, the Joggobot might get away from you, because so far we set it up so it flies in front of
you, so it goes a certain path. But you might choose to go a different path. And we thought, 'Hm,
maybe that can actually be something that you expect from social companions. They go off
somewhere.'

NARRATION

So you might still be, as you do with a dog, chasing after the Joggobot?

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Exactly.

Dr Graham Phillips

Get back here!

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

Yeah.

NARRATION

Robots have been mainly designed to do things humans don't want to, like the vacuuming, or can't do
- like exploring the surface of Mars.

Dr Florian 'Floyd' Mueller

They've always been replacing your work tasks, but here's a new view on robotic technology, it's
the view as a social companion. And people haven't really explored that yet, and we think there's
huge potential for seeing robots as a social companion for exercise.

Dr Graham Phillips

I'm sure robotic personal trainers have a big future. But in the meantime, it's pretty hard to beat
the personal touch.

Trainer

You ready?

Dr Graham Phillips

Alright, let's go.