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Autom Robotic Weight Loss Coach Now Available for Pre-Order

This cute little robot wants to help you lose weight, but she's more than just a pretty face

2 min read
Autom Robotic Weight Loss Coach Now Available for Pre-Order

autom

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.

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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