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Can a flying robot motivate you to go for a run?

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
June 5, 2012

So you've resolved to make some changes in your life, including getting daily exercise that actually makes you sweat. But when your alarm goes off one hour earlier than usual, you reconsider your unhealthy lifestyle and whether or not it's so terrible. Somehow, despite yourself, you begrudgingly drag yourself out of bed, don some spandex, lace up your shoes and fire up the flying robot.

Wait. What?

Yes, that's right. The Joggobot, created by the Australian company Exertion Games Lab, is a flower-shaped flying robot that, when activated while wearing the accompanying t shirt, will fly overhead and slightly in front of you, acting as the perfect, futuristic pace bunny. The device works when the robot's camera sees the colour blocks on the jogger's shirt and knows to fly a few metres ahead, reports CBC.

Also see: How too much exercise can be bad for your health

Popular Science suggests it's a device that might help motivate runners. But is there room on the running store shelf for yet another gadget designed to help runners get moving? Will this one be effective?

"I'm not a gimmick and gadget guy, personally," says Toronto-based running coach and president of Team Over The Top, Jeff Stapleton. "I mean, I run barefoot, and I train people that way, so I'm not even into shoes."

Stapleton, who believes that real motivation comes from internal commitment to change, consistency, and a desire to learn how to run properly and safely to avoid injury, says no gadget will help motivate a runner to head outside in the middle of winter when the temperatures drop and the wind whips at your head.

"[Gadgets are] not going to motivate you to run and to keep running," he says. "What's going to motivate you is being able to mentally get yourself into a space where … you make the choice to make the change."

Also see: Should sugary drinks be banned?

But the Joggobot is getting a lot of media attention and most of it positive. MSNBC introduced it as "the robot running companion for would-be-fit geeks who can't get any fellow hackers away from their computer screens long enough to go for a run."

And CBC used it as an example of devices that are helping people to lose weight, including a pair of "diet goggles" that magnify a snack to larger-than-life size, in the hopes of fooling the eater into believing they're consuming a bigger snack than they really are.

But a video on ABC Catalyst questions what happens if you suddenly veer off track? Will the Joggobot follow? The answer is the device is programed to land on its own if it loses track of the runner.

Watch the video below about the four exercises with a kettlebell.

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