(Relaxnews) – Sure, you can use your mobile phone to track your health and fitness goals, but communicating with a robot may make for a better emotional bonding experience to keep you engaged and held accountable — at least that’s the theory behind Autom, the robot designed for dieters.
The brainchild of Cory Kidd, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a doctorate in human-robot interaction, Autom was developed back in 2010 and enjoyed a flurry of media attention last year.
According to a report in Mashable this week, the device is poised to hit the US market early next year, at a fraction of its initial cost projections. Available for preorder now, Autom will be shipped in early 2013 for a price of $199 (originally it was thought to be priced at $500) with a monthly subscription of $19.99.
At a height of 15 inches/38 cm, Autom can sit atop your kitchen counter and “chat” with you about your diet and health goals. Its blue eyes open and its head swivels as a computer inside its head allows it to search for a human face in front of it and maintain eye contact.
The bot will ask you about your habits, share motivational tips, and give you personalized suggestions based on your recorded information. To respond to questions, users can select the most relevant answers on its touch screen. The company says it hopes to develop another version with voice recognition.
So that Autom doesn’t become boring, it’ll receive automatic updates to keep conversation fresh. Plus it comes complete with a calorie database of nearly 75,000 foods, including restaurant meals.