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.