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Wearable Robot Prototype Is Your Very Own Pokemon

Different wearable robot design concepts

Eigo Nishimura, a student at the Kyushu University School of Design in 2009, created this wearable robot concept which encourages you to go for a walk.  First he drew a variety of robot types that could be carried on your belt, in a bag, on your wrist, on a hat, or on your shoulder.  Out of these, it was decided that the piggyback type would not interfere with walking and would probably consume the least battery power.  He also wanted to capture the general feeling of a living organism without basing its appearance on any particular species, and ended up with a Pokemon-esque design.

The robot’s design and behavior supports how it is intended to interact with people.  For example, it normally struggles to walk on its own to engender a sense of empathy in its human partner.  It becomes natural to want to help it out by picking it up and carrying it on your shoulder, much like a parent would a child.  Its physical properties stress the robot’s wearable nature; it has weak hind legs but strong front legs that can easily grab onto you.  A production model was built to test wearability and how the wiring, servos, and micro controller would fit together.

The robot would sit on a person’s desk and wiggle its arms and head to entice people to get up and go, sort of like a dog begging to go for a walk.  It might also provide dieting and exercise tips to help keep you in shape, and other functions like acting as a pedometer.  What do you think?  Do you like the idea of a robot accessory, and could such a thing convince you to go walking?  It sort of reminds me of those people who walk around with their lizard on their shoulders.

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[source: Kyushu University School of Design]