The Future Face Of Senior Fitness?

Senior Fitness With RobotsTired of pickup lines at the gym?  Well how about an exercise robot that flirts with you while you workout?  According to seniors at Southern California Presbyterian Homes, this robot is a real Casanova.  The robot named Bandit, featured at the 2010 AAHSA Idea House, was developed by Dr. Maja J. Mataric, professor and senior associate dean at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering to teach daily exercise for activity and rehabilitation.  The socially interactive robot can detect and respond to a person’s emotions and physical movements to provide an unprecedented level of interactivity.   The robot provides feedback during the exercise routine and is designed to provide a sense of companionship to combat feelings of isolation based upon its observation via sensors.  Designed to be a regular part of a senior’s exercise regimen at the senior living community, the robot takes the user through a series of exercises and instructs the participant to follow along and the robot can also mimic the moves of the participant for varied activity.  Bandit provides verbal feedback to the users based upon their accomplishments and provides constructive criticism if a user is performing poorly and as well as positive reinforcement.

"Our goal is to develop friendly, intelligent robots that fill the roles of a buddy and a coach, in order to both inspire and motivate people to exercise regularly in their homes, since social exercise is more enjoyable and supervised exercise is more effective” said Dr. Mataric.  “Socially assistive robots can be customized to fit the user’s personality, exercise preferences, and interaction styles. For example, the robot may be pushy or nurturing as a coach, and can even use an appropriate type of jokes as a buddy."

A senior man follows the motions of the exercise robot

Listening to instructions and feedback is an integral part of the system