Bring Autom to Life

Autom™ is a robot coach who talks to you every day to help you live a healthier life. She's also a great robot platform to build on.
Cory Kidd
1,134 Facebook Friends
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
2 Team Members

Our campaign is over, but our progress towards making Autom™ a reality isn't!  See our web site here.



New press coverage on Autom

TechCrunch logo TechCrunch (Nov. 23): Diet Robot, Autom, Now Available On Indiegogo, Will Ship in Six Months

 Gizmorati logo Gizmorati (Nov. 24): Diet Robot Autom, Now Available on Indiegogo

 Grishin Robotics News Grishin Robotics News (Nov. 24): Autom™ Socal Robot Now Available on Indiegogo

 WALA Fox 10 logo WALA Fox News (Nov. 26): Daily Tech

 Gizmag logo Gizmag (Nov. 27): MIT Media Lab births robotic weight loss coach

 MedGadget logo MedGadget (Nov. 28): Autom, the Robotic Weight Coach: Interview with Intuitive Automata's Founder, Dr. Cory Kidd

 Black Enterprise logo Black Enterprise (Nov. 28): Can a Robot Help You Shed Pounds?


Help create the first commercial social robot.

We are preparing to start manufacturing and selling the world's first commercially available social robot. We believe that robots like Autom™ will be common in the future and we're working to be the first to bring this technology to market. We're offering her now as a health coach and for the first time ever offering access to a development kit so that you can create your own applications on our Android-based robot platform.

The robot you see in the video above is named Autom and she's not a concept -- she has been researched, designed, and will be ready for manufacturing very soon. What you're seeing is real; it's not computer graphics. The next step is getting enough initial orders so that we can take that (expensive) leap and start manufacturing. And that's where you come in.

You can be a part of the future of consumer robots by supporting this project!


As seen in:


Okay, it's a robot. But what does she do?

Autom is a health coach. She talks to people about diet and exercise and gives customized, tailored feedback and advice to each person about how to be healthier. She started her life as a weight loss coach and that's where she still excels, helping people to stick with a diet more effectively than other programs out there.

She has a short conversation with you every day. After saying hi and making a little small talk, she'll ask for some information about your eating and exercise. You can tell her or have other devices do that (see the next section) and then she'll offer some feedback and advice that Autom figures out works best for you.

The more she learns about you, the more she adapts her conversation and advice to you. No two conversations are alike and she'll adapt to each person she works with in a different way.

For more information, see our FAQ at the bottom of the page.


What does the development kit include?

The development kit includes one Autom™ robot, access to the API described below, documentation for the API, and code examples that you can use for reference in your development.

And what's in the API?

We've had lots of questions as we have been creating Autom™ about how other developers can build apps that will run on her. For the first time, we're announcing the ability for you to do that. Autom™ is based on Google Android, so if you know how to develop for Android, you'll be able to create apps that run on her.

Our first API that you'll have access to by the time that Autom™ ships will give you access to the following:

  • Low-level control of her six motors
  • The camera inside her eye
  • The audio and microphone for sound in and out
  • Define a series of movements using XML files for her to play out on her motors
  • Text-to-speech (TTS) control including markup for improving pronunciation
  • Higher-level behavior control using a simple markup language that allow you to combine motor actions with text during TTS

We are very excited to see what you can build on top of this! In addition, we are working towards a higher-level API that will allow you to take advantage of our relationship and conversation models. While these will not be available as part of the Indiegogo campaign, our backers will have influence on helping us to decide which parts of these to have ready first.

Dr. Caroline Apovian quote

Other devices she works with

Have a Fitbit pedometer? Withings connected scale? You can let Autom know about those and after each time you sync your Fitbit or step on your scale, Autom will know the number of steps you've taken or your weight.

We're looking into other products to integrate, so if you have a favorite device or app for tracking your activity, weight, or eating and it has an open API, please let us know and we'll get to work on it!  We're open to any suggestions, but will be giving priority to the devices that our Kickstarter backers would like to use with their Autom coach.

Is Autom connected to the Internet?
Yes, she is. This is what connects her to other fitness devices, allows her to back up your data, and gives her access to the coming web and mobile apps. This version of Autom will ship with a WiFi connection, so you have to have a network at home (or wherever you'll use her) that she can get on.

All of your data is kept securely on Autom and is encrypted before being transmitted to our servers. We take your privacy seriously and make sure that only you (or anyone you give access to) will have access to your data.

Autom is based on years of research
One of our team members, Cory, did his graduate work in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab in human-robot interaction. Those years toiling away in the lab not only earned him a Ph.D., but also showed that Autom is really effective in creating a relationship with people who use her. Yes, that's correct, she actually understands quite a bit about psychology and uses this to adapt each conversation to you. And the more she learns about you, the more customized she becomes. So while everyone gets shipped the same thing to start, she evolves in a slightly different way with each person over time.

But it isn't just the technical work that goes into Autom™. Cory also spent several years at the Nutrition and Weight Management Clinic at Boston University Medical Center working alongside a leading weight loss physician, Dr. Caroline Apovian. Dr. Apovian, along with her physician, dietitian, and nutritionist colleagues, contributed a lot to Autom™'s personality and advice. Autom™ takes the best traits of world-class healthcare experts and makes that advice available any time of the day or night.

Autom is easy to use

We've made sure that even though there is a lot of advanced technology that goes into Autom in terms of the hardware and software, that she remains really simple to use. As we like to say, the most complex thing that you have to do is plug her in and turn her on. The rest is through conversation and using her touch screen interface.

Bill and Cory have been friends since they started their computer science undergraduate degrees at Georgia Tech over a decade and a half ago.  Over four years ago, they combined forces to take the research on human-robot interaction and turn it into a real product. Together, we've created the robot that you see in the videos on this page and that could be in your home in just a few short months.

So if you're looking for the perfect robot as a gift to mom or dad, this could be just the one.  (Although she's probably not ready for jewel heists for those of you who have watched Robot & Frank.)  But she is really easy for anyone of any age to use.

Be a part of something big!
Autom™ has seen the bright lights of the TV cameras a few times now. She's been on TV -- ABC's Good Morning America, CNBC, Discovery Channel -- in the newspapers and magazines -- New York Times, Wall Street Journal -- and all over the online world -- TechCrunch, Engadget, and many more. So we'd love for you to take part in something that's bigger than this little robot. Help us usher in a new world of social robots in healthcare. Making huge changes like this are never easy, which is why we could really use your support to make it happen.

We frequently get asked by the media if they can talk to people who have used Autom™, so this is our chance -- and yours -- to do that.  If you're interested in being featured in the press as one of the first users of a social robot at home, just let us know and we'll point them to you after you have her at home.


What's next?

Autom is designed (hardware and software) and nearly ready for manufacturing. This is an expensive step, however, and we need a minimum order to get started. With this Indiegogo project, we'll be able to go from the fully-functioning, manufacturing-ready prototype that you can see in the videos to delivering the first social robot to homes around the US and around the world. We've been dreaming of populating the world with truly interactive robots for a long time and are ready to make it a reality with your help. We've put lots of our own time and money into getting it this far and have had some very generous investors help us out along the way. Now that we're ready to start manufacturing, we are asking you to join us for the next step in an exciting adventure.

We've come a long way in the last 8 years of developing Autom from an an initial crazy idea through prototypes at the MIT Media Lab and then from a prototype to real product.  We would love for you to join us and watch her become real.

How you can help us

Most of our perks are designed around you getting your very own Autom™ at home.  But if that's not something that works for you right now, every contribution helps us to bring social robots to the world.  We appreciate every one of you who contributes.



Update 3: We've added two new perk levels in the last two days.  Today for Cyber Monday we're offering a limited number of supporters the chance to put down $100 to reserve your Autom™ and pay the rest when she's ready to ship.  We've also had a request for a perk that combines both the lifetime subscription and the developer kit and that's added as well.

Update 2: If there are additional perks you would like to see us add, please e-mail us at or leave a comment.

Update 1: If you want to give Autom™ as a holiday gift to someone, we would like to send them a card from Autom™ since she won't be shipping until 2013.  All you need to do is make your contribution and then send us an e-mail at with your name and the name and address of the person to whom the card should be sent.  There's no extra cost for this, but you do have to contribute in the first week and e-mail us by December 1.  We'll try to send out cards for contributions after that, but can't guarantee delivery by a particular date.


Thank you!

We sincerely appreciate your support in helping us make Autom a reality and are excited to be so close to shipping her to you.

  -Cory Kidd, Bill McCord, and the rest of the Intuitive Automata team


Main video soundtrack by J.Lang ( Used under Creative Commons Attribute (3.0) license.



How does Autom™ work?

Autom™ has a daily conversation with you. Each conversation lasts for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how much information you want to tell her and how much feedback you would like to get in return. Autom™ speaks aloud and you can respond by touching her screen. You can also uses the touch screen to enter information about eating and exercise habits. Autom™ uses this daily social interaction with you to provide feedback, advice, and encouragement regarding your diet and exercise routine. No two interactions are alike. Autom™ tailors her messages over time as she learns more about you.

What information does Autom™ keep track of?
Autom™ keeps track of your weight, how well you're trying to eat, and exercise goals. She also helps you keep track of your regular exercise, daily food intake, and current weight. Research has shown that people who keep track of this information are much more likely to lose weight and keep it off.
Does Autom™ work with any diet?
Yes, Autom™ is designed to work with nearly any diet: she works with commercially available diets, can be customized to work with an existing weight loss program, or with custom-designed diets. Autom™ can also be used in conjunction with a physician's or nutritionist's prescribed regimen.
How do I tell Autom™ what I've been eating?
We have designed a new, simple interface for you to keep track of your eating each day.  From evaluating many different online and smartphone apps using a traditional calorie tracking interface and even spending months building our own followed by months of using all of these, we found that it's just too tedious to stick with it.  What weight loss experts have shown is that keeping track of your progress over time is important.  We believe that our new, simplified interface for tracking how well you eat throughout the day -- breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks -- is as beneficial to you as keeping track of every single calorie.  And instead of taking a few minutes to look up the caloric content of every item  you ate during the day, a few moments of thinking through your day can help you not only record how you've done, but let you think about how you did.
Autom™ will help teach you over time how to make better food choices if that's something you want.  Part of the subscription service includes her getting new and relevant food choice information to talk with you about.
Why use a robot instead of a mobile phone app or software on my computer?
Research by Intuitive Automata's founder, Dr. Cory Kidd, has combined insights from the fields of technology, the social sciences, and medicine to understand in detail how humans interact with robots. Key results from his experimental research showed that when compared to interacting with a character on a screen (such as a computer or mobile phone), people find information coming from a robot to be more credible and more informative. He has also shown that a robot is more engaging than a screen-based character and that this engagement lasts significantly longer. The bottom line is that a robot creates a more powerful and long-lasting relationship with the user than a character on the screen. This becomes extremely important when the goal is to sustain engagement over long periods of time in order to sustain behavioral change.
Do you think people will really bond with a robot?
Our experience has shown this to be the case. Dr. Kidd has performed studies with a half dozen robots and hundreds of people. In the case of Autom™, we completed a controlled study comparing Autom™ to other means of weight loss. People interacting with Autom™ were much more likely to stick with their diet for longer.
What features does Autom™ have?
Autom™ has a number of attributes that work together to make her an effective coach. She speaks aloud, makes eye contact, and learns about you over time. Each conversation with her is unique and the touchscreen makes her easy to use and input information. She can be used by multiple people in a household and will develop a different relationship with each person. She changes her behavior to best fit your needs.
What does my subscription include?
Autom™ has a lot to say when you first meet her. But just like anyone else, she is a much better conversationalist when she has timely news and information to share. Each month she'll receive automatic updates so that she'll always have something fresh and interesting to say. Just like a personal coach who is always thinking of something new to keep you motivated and staying on top of the latest weight loss trends, we'll make sure Autom™ has all the information she needs to support you.
As long as she has an Internet connection, she'll back up everything you tell her each day. In the unlikely event that something happens to her or your information, none of your history is lost.
Over time, Autom™ will get smarter and learn faster as we continue to improve her. We want to make sure you don't miss out on these updates, not to mention all the new features that we have planned for the future — watch our blog here for some sneak previews of things that we're working on!
How big is Autom™ and how much does she weigh?
It's only fair that she shares her weight if she is going to ask for yours, right? She is about 15 inches tall and weighs around 4 lbs.
Is Autom™ battery operated?
No, Autom™ plugs into the wall like most home appliances.
How does Autom™ connect to the internet and does she have to be connected in order to use her?
Autom™ is WiFi enabled, which allows her to connect to the internet. This helps her to back up your important data and retrieve the latest updates and information to share with you. While it's not necessary to connect her in order to use her, we highly recommend it because your information will not be backed up otherwise and you won't get automatic updates.
Can other members of my family use Autom™ too?
Yes, she can be used by up to 5 people in a household and will develop a different relationship with each person. She will keep track of each person's information individually.
Is it difficult to take care of Autom™?
Autom™ is much easier to take care of than a pet, and much more engaging!  She'll appreciate it if you chat with her daily and dust her off from time to time.
Is it difficult to get Autom™ set up?
Autom™ is extremely easy to set up. She guides you through the process during your first conversation. All you need to do is plug her in and turn her on. Everything else happens through conversation.  There are only a few things like voice volume, screen brightness, and wifi settings in her one menu that you can access at any time.
When I buy Autom™, what does she come with?
In the box with Autom™ is a power cable. That's all you need!
Will you ship Autom™ outside the US?
Yes, we will be shipping Autom™ to nearly anywhere in the world, thanks to our new partnership with PCH International   If you have any questions about getting her where you live, please contact us at
When can I expect to get Autom™?
Autom™ is only available for pre-order now as we're starting production. We expect to start shipping Autom™ to early customers in June of 2013. Our Indiegogo funders will be the first to get her!
What happens if Autom™ breaks?
Although we are doing our best to make her durable, she is not a toy and should be handled with care. If she happens to break, you can contact us at and we can work together to either fix or replace her on a case by case basis.
Can Autom™ be used for children?
At the moment Autom™ is designed to be used by individuals who are 18 years or older. We plan to develop a version of Autom™ that meets childrens' unique weight loss needs. Please join our mailing list if you would like to receive updates on any future developments.
Can I buy Autom™ in a retail store?
Right now Autom™ is not available in stores, but you can buy her through our Indiegogo campaign at a much lower price than what we expect her to retail for next year.  Autom will probably sell for twice as much once she's available through traditional outlets, so not only do you get her first if you buy on Indiegogo, but you'll get a much lower price.
Who can I contact if I have questions before buying Autom™?
If you'd like to talk to us more before making the purchase, please feel free to email us at We would be happy to answer any additional questions you have.
Why is Autom™ more affordable than a personal trainer?
One of the best things about Autom™ is that she is available anytime day or night and as often as you'd like. Personal trainers are great, but most people can't afford to have them on call 24/7. If you don't have a personal trainer, she can help you to set goals and stay on track. if you do have a personal trainer, she can help you keep focused between training sessions.
Can Autom™ hear me when I talk to her?
Think of Autom™ like a plant. She loves to be spoken to and enjoys music, but she can't understand what you say just yet! We plan to improve the capabilities of Autom™ so that she'll have voice recognition in the future, but we're not sure when yet.
I've never used a computer! Can I still use Autom™?
Absolutely! Autom™ is extremely easy to use because she guides you each step of the way through conversation. All you have to do is plug her in and turn her on and she'll take it from there. There are no complicated menus or settings that you need to adjust and you can always contact us if you have any questions. We're happy to help.
What kind of exercise does Autom™ track?
Autom™ can keep track of exercise in steps if you have a pedometer or in minutes otherwise.  Or keep track of both if you prefer.
Does Autom™ work with other devices (heart rate monitor / pedometer / wireless weight scale / etc.)?
We are working to integrate Autom™ with several other devices. We expect that when she ships, you can use your Fitbit pedometer or your Withings scale with her. If there are other Internet-connected devices you would like to use with Autom™, please contact us at
Find This Campaign On
raised in 1 month
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$50,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on December 23, 2012
Select a Perk
  • $5USD

    We thank you for your support in bringing Autom™ to life. We'll keep you updated on developments so that you can buy Autom™ later.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: December 2012
  • $25USD

    Be part of history and help create the future we're all dreaming of. For your pledge, we'll send you a set of 5 postcards that illustrate Autom's design through construction.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2013
  • $50USD

    Get your own Autom USB memory that doubles as an awesome little robot figurine. Just yank off her head, stick her into your laptop, and you've got 8 GB of robot-shaped storage. Yes, this is the future.

    9 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $100USD

    Put down only $100 to reserve your Autom™ from our first shipment. When they're ready to go, pay another $99 and sign up for the $6.99 a month subscription. Like AUTOM AT HOME, you'll get the postcards shortly after the campaign ends.

    2 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $199USD

    You'll have one of the early Autom™ coaches delivered to your home. This one does not include the subscription with updates, backup, and more, but you can purchase it on our web site at any time before or after she ships for $6.99 a month. We'll send your postcards as soon as they're ready.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $249USD

    You'll be one of the first people to have their own interactive social robot at home! We'll include a full year's health coach subscription at a much lower price than what you would get after she ships. And while you're waiting for Autom to get to you, you'll get the postcards and USB key.

    14 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $299USD

    Get the Autom™ Early Adopter package plus be the first to have access to our development API. If you've always dreamed of programming a talking robot, now's your chance.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $499USD

    Just like EARLY ADOPTER, you get to be one of the first to have Autom. But on top of that, we're including a lifetime subscription, making sure that you'll always have access to updated information and fresh, new conversations. You also get the USB key and postcard set.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $549USD

    Combine the AUTOM DEVELOPER and AUTOM COMPANION levels to receive the development API and a lifetime subscription for updates. Of course we'll include the USB and postcards while you're waiting.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $895USD

    Get your lab or group started developing on a set of Autom™ robots. We're looking forward to seeing what kind of awesome things you'll create!

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $5,000USD

    This is a unique opportunity to see where and how Autom™ is made. Join Bill and Cory for a tour of the factory in China. We'll include three nights hotel in Hong Kong, a visit to our office, and sightseeing in HK in addition to the factory tour in China. You will just need to obtain a China visa and get yourself to Hong Kong. And you receive everything in the AUTOM COMPANION reward level.

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $5,000USD

    Or seminar or other event. We'll work out the time and place with you and either Cory or Billy will show up with a couple Autom™ coaches. Entertain your guests, hear about the history of social robots, or come up with some other event idea. (Contact us for events outside the continental US to figure out a price.)

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
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