Fitness and sports are entrenched in technology these days, especially given the wide range of wearable tech products and services available in the market. Most sports apparel manufacturers are capitalising on wearable tech introducing new products designed to attract users' attention.
Not to be left behind, Puma has weighed in, stepping up its tech game from wearables to robots. The company has launched a robot which may just be fast enough and smart enough to train and outperform Usain Bolt.
BeatBot, which looks like a box on wheels, is a self-driving robot that comes equipped with infrared sensors that help it identify and race-track lines and stay within the limits. BeatBot can make over 100 adjustments per second to stay on course and uses its front and rear GoPro cameras to analyse the counts of its wheel revolutions and figure out its speed and distance when on the go. Moreover, BeatBot can be operated to run faster than world record speeds, essentially running even faster than Bolt, according to Puma.
"We found a lot of anecdotal evidence that head to head competition raised performance levels, even a few studies that showed an uptick performance," JWT New York's creative director Florent Imbert told Fast Company. "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."
BeatBot is currently just a prototype. Unfortunately, it may be a while before little BeatBots hit the shelves so to speak, especially given how expensive they are to manufacture on a large scale. Puma is now only making BeatBot available to its sponsored athletes like Usain Bolt and is not planning to mass produce the robot for sale anytime in the near future.