Skip to main content

RoboCoach is a fitness-focused robot helping Singapore’s seniors stay fit

robocoach helps singapore seniors stay in shape
IDA
Whether Singapore has a shortage of human fitness instructors isn’t immediately clear, but the Asian city-state has nevertheless decided to deploy androids at sports centers in an effort to help seniors stay in shape.

RoboCoach, a fitness-focused bot capable of 15 different kinds of upper-body exercises, is already leading sessions at centers catering to Singapore’s oldsters.

Developed by student engineers at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, mains-powered RoboCoach features a phablet for a face upon which emotions are conveyed, and a large tablet on its abdomen explaining in detail how each exercise should be performed.

Able to out-perform even the fittest human instructor (unless there’s a power outage), RoboCoach likely has Singapore’s retirees working up a sweat in no time, though hopefully it also knows when to slow down to avoid having participants keeling over mid-routine. After all, a body count at the end of each fitness session would surely defeat the object of such an initiative.

The sporty android, which also comes with some voice-recognition capabilities and motion sensors to ensure everyone’s moving together, was shown off at a recent tech exhibition in the city.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), a government organization that backs and encourages the local tech industry, told the Guardian, “Feedback has been positive as seniors enjoy a novel way in physical exercises.”

RoboCoach joins a growing army of robots aimed at helping seniors with different aspects of their lives. Japan, for example, earlier this year unveiled Robear, a robotic nurse with the face of a bear. Really.

The robot, developed by Tokyo-based research institute Riken, has both the strength and agility to carefully lift a patient from a bed to a wheelchair, or help them get from a sitting position to a standing one.

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
This Google robot taught itself to walk, with no help whatsoever, in two hours
Google Robot

Do you remember that scene in Walt Disney’s Bambi where the titular fawn learns to stand up and walk under its own power? It’s a charming vignette in the movie, showcasing a skill that plenty of baby animals -- from pigs to giraffe to, yes, deer -- pick up within minutes of their birth. Over the first few hours of life, these animals rapidly refine their motor skills until they have full control over their own locomotion. Humans, who learn to stand holding onto things at around seven months and who begin walking at 15 months, are hopelessly sluggish by comparison.

Guess what the latest task that robots have beaten us at? In a new study carried out by researchers at Google, engineers have taught a quadruped Minitaur robot to walk by, well, not really having to teach it much at all. Rather, they’ve used a a type of goal-oriented artificial intelligence to make a four-legged robot learn how to walk forward, backward, and turn left and right entirely on its own. It was able to successfully teach itself to do this on three different terrains, including flat ground, a soft mattress, and a doormat with crevices.

Read more
Meet the robot helping doctors treat coronavirus patients
meet the robot helping doctors treat coronavirus patients doctor

There have been five confirmed cases of the quickly spreading coronavirus in the U.S. Doctors have figured out a way to communicate with one of the infected patients without exposing themselves to the virus by using a robot. 

The robot is being used for the patient in Washington state at the Providence Regional Medical Center, according to CNN. Since the coronavirus can transmit from person to person, doctors at the hospital treating the patient have taken extra caution in the form of using a robot. 

Read more
The best robot vacuums of CES 2020: Lucy, Narwal T10, RoboVac G30 Edge, and more
Narwal T10 self cleaning robot vac

This story is part of our continuing coverage of CES 2020, including tech and gadgets from the showroom floor.

CES 2020 had some interesting robot vacs debut this year. There have been bots that clean themselves, prevent their filters from clogging, and even bots that double as roving security cameras. Here are the smart vacuum cleaners that we've liked so far.

Read more