Meet Autom, the robot health coach introduced at the Dublin Web Summit

18 Oct 2012

Dr Cory Kidd from Intuitive Automata, Liam Casey of PCH International, and Robert Scoble with Autom at the Dublin Web Summit. Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

A robot that can help people to exercise more and stick to a healthy diet stole the spotlight at the Dublin Web Summit this morning, as PCH International announced a partnership with its creators for worldwide distribution.

Introduced to the crowd of tech enthusiasts on the main stage, Autom is a personal lifestyle and healthcare coach who also happens to be a robot.

Research by Dr Cory Kidd, founder and CEO of Intuitive Automata, shows that lifestyle changes requiring sustained periods of commitment and engagement – such as weight loss through exercise and healthy eating – is easier to achieve with something that offers a more powerful and long-lasting relationship than a mobile app or computer programme.

Combining insights from technology, social sciences and medicine, Kidd and his team designed a robot coach that can learn about each user she interacts with and adapt to him or her and a user’s needs over time. According to Kidd, no two conversations with Autom are alike as the more she learns, the more she adapts how she engages with a user, customising her feedback and advice to ensure he or she stays motivated.

A study conducted by Intuitive Automata showed that users interacting with Autom were more likely to stick to a diet longer than people using a computer-based application or paper log.

Partnering with PCH

Autom is available to pre-order online for a special introductory price of US$199 and a US$19 monthly subscription for a minimum of one year. Manufacture and distribution of the motivational robot has been made possible through a partnership with Irishman Liam Casey’s PCH International.

Through the PCH Accelerator programme, Intuitive Automata will have access to PCH’s design, manufacturing and worldwide distribution services – the same supply chain management services used by some of the world’s top brands.

“PCH Accelerator brings the most innovative hardware products to market quickly and we believe these companies are the Fortune 500s of the future,” explained Casey. “We have been exploring the new consumer robotics market and have found a perfect opportunity in helping Intuitive Automata scale and bring Autom to market.”

“We are working together to bring our Autom weight-loss coach to market and expect this to be the beginning of a long relationship delivering new interactive robots to help people worldwide better manage many aspects of their own healthcare,” said Kidd.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.