By Patricia Salber
Is your next weight loss coach a robot? Cory Kidd, Autom’s inventor certainly hopes so. Cory, 32, built the first incarnation of Autom by hand while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. After testing the concept in a clinic at Boston Medical Center, he co-founded Intuitive Automata Inc. together with co-founders Chief Technology Officer Bill McCord and Chief Design Officer Erica Young. Intuitive Automata, recently selected as a finalist in the Asian Innovation Awards, is targeting the U.S. market for Autom’s launch next year, where she will be tested in a pilot program with a major insurance company.
Autom is a winsome, wide-eyed, counter-top robot that, unlike your family and friends, will never tire of egging you on to meet your weight loss and exercise goals. You start by entering the details of your diet and exercise plan into the robot and then put her on your kitchen counter-top – she is a bit larger than a milk carton.
Autom is programmed to hold daily “conversations” with you. She may start by saying, “I know this setup with talking to me might be a little strange, but I hope that you’ll get used to it.” You tap on your robot’s screen to answer “Let’s move on.” Autom will respond based on your answer.
I know you are probably thinking, Ok, this will be fun for about a day. “To that the inventor, Cory Kidd, responds by saying that” Intuitive Automata’s research (at Boston Medical Clinic) has shown that users stick with Autom’s programs…longer than most diets, even after the novelty of using a robot wears off.”