It's been a long time coming, but Intuitive Automata's Autom robotic weight loss coach is now up for pre-order on a dedicated "MyAutom" website. If you haven't been following the saga of Autom, it was first an MIT Media Lab robot with a significantly different look. Autom's developer at MIT, Cory Kidd, co-founded Intuitive Automata to help commercialize Autom based on the original MIT project, and it's starting to look like everything will be coming together within the next year. Not to get off topic or anything, but it's fantastic to see a research robot like this make the difficult jump into the consumer market. Congrats to Dr. Kidd!
Anyhow, back to the robot. We know that Autom is designed to be exceptionally interactive, crunching data on your health, diet, and exercise regimen and giving back friendly and constructive criticism. Studies have shown that people who use Autom stick with their diet and exercise routines for twice as long as people using more traditional weight loss methods. Don't ask me how, maybe it's something about those big blue eyes?
If this sounds good to you, you can be one of the very first people to have this friendly little robot helping you out every day with a deposit of $195. This is not the final price, however, it's just the pre-order deposit. The final price is the $195 deposit plus a balance of $670 when the robot ships, for a total of $865. This does seem a bit steep, although I'll admit to not being familiar with how much a typical weight loss program costs.
On the upside, Intuitive Automota seems to understand that cost is, uh, an issue, and they're planning on working with health insurance companies and employers to try and subsidize things a bit. Anyway, pre-orders are open now, and you can find out a bit more info (but not all the info you'd probably want before spending most of a grand on a weight loss robot) at the website below.
[ Autom ]
This post has been updated to reflect the fact that Autom will not require a monthly subscription fee.
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.