I’m a runner who enjoys my time alone on long outings. So I’m perplexed by researchers who’ve developed a flying robot to keep runners company when they can’t find a partner to hit the road with. Here’s how Forbes is reporting on it:
Runners, you no longer have to convince your reluctant partner to put on sneaks and hit the streets with you, thanks to my new favorite drone: the Joggobot, a companion robot for runners. Using a built-in camera, the autonomous drone hones in on sensors in a custom shirt and exhorts you to keep up with it.
“People might feel chased if the Joggobot was behind them,” says researcher Eberhard Grather in a video. So instead your little drone friend flies in front of you.
Floyd Mueller and Grather, researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, tricked out the Parrot AR Drone, which is usually operated with a smartphone, to fly autonomously. You can set it for companion mode — in which the drone flies at a steady pace — or coach mode, “which sets a slightly more challenging speed,” reports WiredUK. (Coach mode sounds suspiciously like the fake rabbit used on dog race tracks.)”
In case you’re wondering, the batteries only last 20 minutes. So you won’t get too far with your best drone friend. The biggest problem I see with this is the number of people out in front of me on a run who will get nailed in the back of the head by the drone. Also, are that many runners out there looking for a flying friend? Why, why, why?
This isn’t my bag baby, but I must say that I enjoyed watching the promotional video for the product, because the flying robot thing looks pretty cool for someone born in the 60’s and raised on shows like the Jetsons.