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 (Nov. 23): Diet Robot, Autom, Now Available On Indiegogo, Will Ship in Six Months
Gizmorati (Nov. 24): Diet Robot Autom, Now Available on Indiegogo
Grishin Robotics News (Nov. 24): Autom™ Socal Robot Now Available on Indiegogo
WALA Fox News (Nov. 26): Daily Tech
Gizmag (Nov. 27): MIT Media Lab births robotic weight loss coach
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
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 (http://ccmixter.org/reviews/djlang59/37792). 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.