21 May
Puma Beatbot Gives Usain Bolt a Run for His Money Puma Beatbot Gives Usain Bolt a Run for His Money

Puma Beatbot Gives Usain Bolt a Run for His Money

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Beatbot goes beyond fitness wearables that merely track athletic performance. The device is a self-driving mini-machine that can be programmed to push runners to their limits. And it can also be used to simply help runners keep pace on their runs.

Advertising agency J. Walter Thompson New York created the Beatbot, which is described by Fast Company as looking like "a shoebox on wheels." Because it can drive on its own, even following a racing stripe line on a conventional running track, the device can be a boon to those runners who tend to race faster against competitors instead of a stopwatch. It's along the lines of that fake rabbit that encourages dogs to race. Or the "rabbit" of a thoroughbred that gets a horse race off to a faster start.

Here's how it works: Users enter the distance they'd like to run as well as a projected time. Then, they place the Beatbot on the starting line and begin running. The device will create a pace that will permit runners to challenge their own personal best times, the best times of their competitors, or even the time of a champion like Usain Bolt. The robot is said to have the capability of matching speeds up to 44 kmh/27.34 mph.

The ad agency's executive creative director says that Beatbot wasn't the result of a ton of academic research.

Rather, he says, "We found a lot of anecdotal evidence that head to head competition raised performance levels, even a few studies that showed an uptick performance. But, to us, it felt like a human truth. Running against an invisible clock will never be as motivating as running against someone—or something."


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Read 1202 times Last modified on Tuesday, 10 May 2016 09:46
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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