The personal trainer of the future is a robot
Due to the Covid-19 emergency, which forced gyms and sports centers to close, thehome fitness it has grown exponentially during 2020. Practicing physical activity at home, in fact, is now one of the favorite habits of Italians, and it seems that it can remain so in the future. By virtue of this, a group of five students from the Politecnioi of Milan and Turin worked to transform a humanoid robot in personal trainer, so as to guarantee everyone a safe and controlled training even at home.
Thus was born the “AI empowered hardware for fitness applications” project, coordinated by the Professor Barbara Caputo – name known for its robotics research -. Given the success in the industry, this quickly evolved into the start up Gymnasium, which recently launched a robot for training at home. “The pandemic played a fundamental role. We will not be able to replace the empathy of a human: we want to give an alternative that can be purchased by everyone and that can be used at home “. Like this Daniel GusminiCEO of the start-up, commented on the project.
Home fitness: The personal trainer robot is the future of home training
With the idea of revolutionizing the world of home fitness, five engineers and designers from the Polytechnic of Milan and Turin worked onPepper’s evolution, the humanoid robot designed in 2014 by SoftBank to understand human emotions. Starting from a well-defined project, the students developed an algorithm that provides the robot an artificial intelligence. In this way it was possible to equip it with all those useful features to support people in training at home. Just as if he were a personal trainer in the flesh. It is no coincidence, in fact, that in the development of AI the team of engineers was supported by experts in Sports Sciences, in order to guarantee an experience as similar as possible to that of a gym.
Pepper has thus become a full-fledged personal trainer, able to follow a person in an entire bodyweight training session. Thanks to AI, the robot is capable of count repetitions, to correct mistakes and even show past sessions. Useful features for optimizing home workouts, especially considering that bodyweight exercises increase the likelihood of errors and physical injuries, thus reducing the benefits of training. Thanks to a well-studied algorithm, the robot is capable of monitor the execution of the exercises through the poses assumed by the human body. And to intervene so that the exercise is performed correctly. In this sense, it is evident that the robot has nothing to envy to a coach in the flesh.
However, it must be said that the start-up Gymnasio has given the robot a more compact and practical shape, so as to facilitate its use at home. Pepper was thus transformed into a device equipped with 3D camera and Artificial Intelligence algorithms, which not only allow him to monitor a person’s bodyweight training, but also to create and manage custom cards. By recognizing the user’s skills and progress, the robot can support and manage the training independently. Just like a real personal trainer.
The new frontier of robotics
If we stop and think, it is quite incredible how the Covid-19 emergency has managed to accelerate technological evolution so much. And Gymnasio is the perfect demonstration of this. With this project, robotics enter the world of home fitness, and of our daily life. In fact, until now, there has never been an opportunity to integrate robots into our daily activities.
But Pepper’s evolution could represent an optimal solution not only for end usersbut also for gyms. And this is just as true for difficult situations like the one we are experiencing, whose sports centers are closed due to the pandemic. Both in those where the gyms have to manage an overcrowding. And where a personal trainer is not enough, resorting to a robot could be an optimal solution. On the other hand, the world is changing, and our habits too. Entrusting our well-being to an Artificial Intelligence could only be the natural consequence of an evolution that has already begun a while ago.