Providing self-images is an effective approach to identifying sports players’ body movements that should be corrected. Traditional means providing self-images, however, such as mirrors and videos, are not effective in terms of mobility and immediacy. In this paper we propose a system, Around Me, providing self-images through a display attached to an escort robot that runs in front of the user. This system captures the user’s posture from the front and recognizes his/her position relative to the robot. The user’s movements are synchronized with the robot’s movements because the robot’s movements are determined by the user’s location. In this research we developed an experimental prototype specialized for assistance in jogging. In pilot studies we observed that the ability of Around Me to provide real-time images is potentially able to encourage the user to improve his/her jogging form, which is essential for performance and for injury prevention. In addition, compared with the robot running in front of the user with one following behind the user, we clarified the frontal robot’s characteristics: the robot can control the jogging speed, and the user needs to adjust the robot’s steering and the distance between the robot and him/her as he/she requires. Then we found indications that Around Me can, with various jogging support functions, encourage the user to practice jogging with ideal form.
Junya Tominaga, Kensaku Kawauchi and Jun Rekimoto, “Around Me: A System with an Escort Robot Providing a Sports Player’s Self-Images”, AH2014 [Best Paper Award]